Russian Federation: ICRC president in Moscow to discuss Syrian humanitarian situation

18-03-2012 News Release 12/54

Geneva / Moscow (ICRC) – The president of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), Jakob Kellenberger, is on his way to Moscow for a one-day visit during which he will meet Russian foreign affairs minister Sergei Lavrov on Monday 19 March.

Mr Kellenberger is visiting Moscow to discuss the ICRC's concerns regarding the humanitarian situation in Syria and to explain the work the ICRC and the Syrian Arab Red Crescent have been doing since the beginning of the unrest.

This visit takes place against the background of a deteriorating humanitarian situation in Syria.

“The humanitarian situation in Homs, Idlib, Hama, Deraa and other areas affected by the unrest remains extremely difficult and could deteriorate further. People have been suffering for several months in some areas, with women and children particularly affected,” said ICRC president Jakob Kellenberger.

“A daily cessation in the fighting for a period of at least two hours remains essential in order for emergency medical evacuations to take place safely and for aid to reach vulnerable people swiftly,” added the ICRC president. “The ICRC is asking for an unambiguous commitment from all concerned to these breaks in the fighting, so that it can reach people in urgent need.”

Mr Kellenberger continued: “The ICRC is particularly concerned about vulnerable people, such as those detained in connection with the fighting and those who are sick or injured and need medical care. It is a matter of the utmost urgency that the ICRC be able to extend its assistance and protection activities so that it can respond to their needs.”

The ICRC is talking to all those who could have a positive influence on its work in Syria. Jakob Kellenberger visited Syria in June and September 2011, when he met President Al-Assad. Since then, regular discussions with the Syrian authorities and members of the opposition have continued, both in Syria and abroad.

“The ICRC's impartial, neutral and independent humanitarian action has allowed the ICRC and the Syrian Arab Red Crescent to reach thousands of people in areas affected by fighting. But we need to do much more,” concluded Mr Kellenberger. Since the unrest in Syria began a year ago, the ICRC and Syrian Arab Red Crescent have provided thousands of people with food, medicines and other essential items.

For further information, please contact:
Jean-Yves Clémenzo, ICRC Geneva, tel. +41 22 730 22 71 or +41 79 217 32 17
Vassily Fadeev, ICRC Geneva (for Russian media), tel. +41 79 536 92 48
Sébastien Carliez, ICRC Geneva, tel. +41 730 28 81 or + 41 79 536 92 37

On Monday 19 March:
Hicham Hassan, ICRC Geneva, tel: +41 22 730 25 41 or +41 79 536 92 57
Vassily Fadeev, ICRC Geneva (for Russian media), tel: +41 22 730 34 53 or +41 79 536 92 48
Carla Haddad Mardini, ICRC Geneva, tel: +41  22 730 24 05 or +41 79 217 32 26