UNITED NATIONS Calling it an unprecedented development, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon announced Monday a four-member panel to investigate the May 31 deadly Israeli raid on Gaza-bound aid flotilla that left nine Turkish peace activists dead. For the past two months, I have engaged in intensive consultation with the leaders of Israel and Turkey on the setting-up of a panel of inquiry on the flotilla incident, Ban said in a statement. Today I am very pleased to announce the launch of the panel. This is an unprecedented development. I thank the leaders of the two countries with whom I have engaged in last-minute consultations over the weekend, for their spirit of compromise and forward looking cooperation. The UN chief said the four-member panel would be led by former New Zealand prime minister Geoffrey Palmer and outgoing Colombian President Alvaro Uribe and would also have one Israeli and one Turkish member. Israel has until now rejected calls for an international independent investigation into the commando raid, in which nine Turkish citizens were shot dead, and instead launched two internal inquiries. I hope that todays agreement will impact positively on the relationship between Turkey and Israel as well as the overall situation in the Middle East, he added.