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United States: ICRC president completes visit to Washington

30-03-2012 News Release 12/62

Geneva/Washington (ICRC) – The president of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), Jakob Kellenberger, has completed a two-day visit to Washington, during which he met with President Obama and held talks with senior United States government officials.

Mr Kellenberger met at the White House with President Barack Obama and John Brennan. In addition, the ICRC president met with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano, the director of National Intelligence, General James Clapper, the director of the Central Intelligence Agency, General David Petraeus, and Deputy Attorney General James Cole.

A focus of Mr Kellenberger's visit was detention-related matters. "In Guantanamo Bay and elsewhere, the United States must strike a balance between security, military necessity and humanity," said Mr Kellenberger.

"In particular, it remains imperative that persons held for security reasons who have not been charged be regularly assessed through a robust review mechanism. If such persons no longer pose a threat, they must be released."

"Ten years of intensive operational dialogue, including on humanitarian issues related to national security, have resulted in a frank relationship of trust between the ICRC and the United States," said Mr Kellenberger. "I am confident that this allows the ICRC to bring humanitarian issues and concerns to the attention of the United States whenever needed."

For further information, please contact:
Simon Schorno, ICRC Washington, tel: +1 202 587 46 04 or +1 202 361 15 66
Carla Haddad Mardini, ICRC Geneva, tel: +41 22 730 24 05 or +41 79 217 32 26
Bijan Frederic Farnoudi, ICRC Geneva, tel: +41 22 730 21 80 or +41 79 536 92 59