Israeli raid on aid ship may be "opportunity" for Middle East - Obama
U.S. President Barack Obama called Israel's recent deadly attack on an international aid convoy a "tragic situation" that could serve as "an opportunity" to advance the Middle East peace process, RIA Novosti reported.
"I think what's important right now is that we break out of the current impasse, use this tragedy as an opportunity so that we figure out, how can we meet Israel's security concerns, but at the same time start opening up opportunity for Palestinians, work with all parties concerned - the Palestinian authority, the Israelis, the Egyptians and others," Obama said in a White House interview for the 25th anniversary of "Larry King Live" on CNN.
"I think Turkey can have a positive voice in this whole process once we've worked through this tragedy," he added.
Washington has taken a cautious stance on Monday's incident, which left at least nine people, including a U.S. national, dead.
In an official statement issued on Wednesday, Obama stressed "the importance of finding better ways to provide humanitarian assistance to the people of Gaza without undermining Israel's security."
He also "affirmed the United States position in support of a credible, impartial, and transparent investigation" demanded by the UN Security Council over the incident.
Israeli commandos stormed the six-ship Freedom Flotilla off the Gaza coast as it carried some 10,000 tons of aid and up to 700 human rights activists to the Palestinian enclave. Official Israeli reports said nine people were killed in the operation, but Arab media reports put the death toll at close to 20.