Turkey wants Security Council to discuss UN report on Israeli war crimes

Erdogan said his country would ask the Security Council to discuss a report by U.N. investigators saying Israel committed war crimes in the Gaza offensive.

Turkey wants Security Council to discuss UN report on Israeli war crimes

Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan said on Saturday his country would ask the Security Council to discuss a report by U.N. investigators saying Israel committed war crimes in the Gaza offensive.

"We will definitely take the position to discuss this issue on the Security Council," Erdogan told reporters.

A U.N. fact-finding mission led by South African jurist Richard Goldstone issued the report last week.

Israel "punished and terrorised" civilians in Gaza in a disproportionate attack in its three-week war on the territory earlier this year, the United Nations report has found.

Israeli forces deliberately attacked civilians, failed to take precautions to minimize loss of civilian life and cited strong evidence Israeli forces committed "grave breaches" of the Geneva Convention, the 575-page report noted.

Israel has rejected a cooperation with the Goldstone team or had not allowed it onto its territory.

The report urged the Security Council to refer the report to the International Criminal Court in The Hague if Israel authorities failed to investigate and prosecute those accused of the war crimes within six months.

Erdogan, who is in New York for the annual meeting of the U.N. General Assembly, said through an interpreter there should be "accountability for anyone guilty of war crimes in Gaza.

"We're in favor of opening discussions on the Goldstone report and whoever is the guilty party, they should be identified and face the necessary sanctions," he said.

Turkey joined the 15-nation Security Council as a temporary member in January and will have a seat until the end of 2010.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has quickly rejected the report of the Goldstone commission, which accused Israel of killings civilians including children.

US may undermine Ankara's effort on raising the issue in New York. The United States insists the report be discussed by the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva, not the Security Council.

"Turkey ready to mediate peace talks"

Israel and the United States have long sabotaged probe efforts on Israeli war crimes on occupied Palestinian territories. But the United States joined it this year after President Barack Obama's predecessor, George W. Bush, boycotted it.

Erdogan said Turkey was ready to help mediate talks between Israel and the Palestinians, as well as to resume its mediation in indirect negotiations between Israel and Syria.

Israel now wants direct talks with Damascus despite no progress towards its occupied Golan heights.

He said it would be possible to negotiate a solution between Israel and the Palestinians but in order for that to happen, the Palestinians would have to unite.

"There are results that can be achieved by sitting around the table and talking about them," he said. "Once we have unity in Palestine, only then will steps yield positive results."


Agencies

Last Mod: 28 Eylül 2009, 12:27
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