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Mexico: ICRC to end operations in Chiapas

09-08-1995 News Release 32

At the invitation of the Mexican Government, ICRC President Cornelio Sommaruga visited that country from 1 to 4 August. There he met with President Ernesto Zedillo Ponce de León and with the Secretaries of Foreign Affairs,  Defence and Health, the deputy Secretary of the Interior and the Chairman of the Human Rights Commission and senior officials of the Mexican Red Cross.

Mr Sommaruga took the opportunity of these meetings to announce that the ICRC would withdraw all its expatriate staff from the state of Chiapas by September 1995 and would close its office in San Cristóbal de las Casas. The assistance programmes carried out by the ICRC in the region since early 1994 will be continued by the Mexican Red Cross, with which it has enjoyed excellent cooperation from the very outset of the operation.

The ICRC will remain available for as long as necessary to act as a neutral intermediary in the dialogue now under way between the Government and the Zapatista National Liberation Army, and will go on visiting people detained in connection with the events. In addition, the ICRC hopes to launch programmes to promote knowledge of international humanitarian law, in cooperation with the Mexican Red Cross and the government departments concerned.