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ICRC president to meet with UN secretary-general

12-06-2007 News Release 07/76

Geneva (ICRC) – The president of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), Mr Jakob Kellenberger, has arrived in New York where he will be meeting with the secretary-general of the United Nations, Mr Ban Ki-moon.

Their talks are expected to focus on pressing humanitarian issues, such as the plight of victims of armed conflict and the need to foster greater respect for international humanitarian law. Both the ICRC and the UN have long held the view that access to victims of armed conflict and security guarantees for humanitarian personnel must improve if the task of providing assistance and protection is to be adequately done.

The ICRC president will stress the obligations that all UN member States have under international humanitarian law. Speaking before his departure for New York, Mr Kellenberger said, " We must be vigilant so as to ensure that existing legal norms are not weakened, especially those protecting internally displaced persons. "

People displaced by armed conflicts are at the core of the ICRC's mandate and activities. In 2006, the ICRC helped a total of 3.5 million displaced people in 19 countries.

During his talks with the UN secretary-general, Mr Kellenberger will welcome any moves aimed at achieving better coordination of humanitarian action and confirm the ICRC's readiness to work in a complementary way with the United Nations.

For further information, please contact:
  Vincent Lusser, ICRC Geneva, tel +41 22 730 24 26 or +41 79 217 32 64
  Carlo von Flüe, ICRC New York, tel +1 212 599 60 21