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Russian Federation: ICRC director of operations completes talks with Russian authorities

12-11-2004 News Release 04/65

Moscow/Geneva (ICRC) – The director of operations of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), Pierre Krähenbühl, had talks this week with the Russian authorities on ICRC activities in the Russian Federation, including the growing difficulties faced by the ICRC in carrying out visits to persons detained in relation with the situation in Chechnya and questions of access to Chechnya.

ICRC activities in the northern Caucasus are conducted within the framework of an agreement reached between Russian President Vladimir Putin and ICRC President Jakob Kellenberger in 2000. The agreement provides that the ICRC shall carry out its full range of humanitarian activities in the northern Caucasus, including visits to detainees.

During his talks, Mr Krähenbühl underlined the considerable humanitarian needs which still require ICRC action in Chechnya and other parts of the northern Caucasus. He welcomed the Russian authorities’ assurances that they value the ICRC’s presence and action in the region. The Russian authorities also renewed their commitment to ensure ICRC delegates have safe access to Chechnya.

Mr Krähenbühl stressed the fact that access to detainees is a key priority for the ICRC. “The issue of access to detainees according to standard ICRC criteria could not be resolved and remains a matter of concern to us. The ICRC has not carried out detention visits since September 2004. The dialogue with the Russian authorities will continue on this important question. We remain hopeful that a solution will be found in the near future. "

During his visit to Moscow, Mr Krähenbühl met with Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Yuri Fedotov, Deputy Minister of Justice Yuri Kalinin, Deputy Prosecutor General Sergey Fridinsky, the head of the International Cooperation Department of the Federal Security Service, Alexei Kouzioura, and Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs Mikhail Pankov.

 For more information, please contact:  

 Annick Bouvier, ICRC Geneva, tel. ++41 22 730 24 58  

 Anastasya Isyuk, ICRC Moscow, tel. ++7 095 926 54 26 or ++7 903 545 35 34