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Russian Federation: President Putin meets ICRC President

30-03-2000 News Release 00/04

Geneva (ICRC) - The President of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), Mr Jakob Kellenberger, was today (30 March) received by the newly elected President of the Russian Federation, Mr Vladimir Putin.

During the meeting President Putin expressed his wish to see ICRC activities extend into Chechnya, in cooperation with the Russian Red Cross, in order to respond to the urgent humanitarian needs currently prevailing there. He also made a commitment to providing Red Cross staff with the necessary security guarantees.

In regard to visits to detainees, President Putin gave his personal authorization for the ICRC to have access to people detained in connection with the conflict, wherever they are held, in accordance with the organization's customary working procedures. These essentially comprise the possibility of having repeated access to detainees and of holding private interviews with them. The ICRC President also expressed his determination to gain access to persons detained by Chechen fighters.

In order to translate this key commitment obtained by the ICRC President into action, additional meetings with the relevant ministries have been scheduled for tomorrow.

In view of the ICRC’s serious concern about reports of violations of international humanitarian law in Chechnya, President Kellenberger further insisted on the importance of taking all necessary measures to ensure full respect for its provisions.