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United States: ICRC President completes visit to Washington

30-01-2008 News Release 08/17

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 held talks with senior government representatives.

Dr Kellenberger met Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Attorney General Michael Mukasey, Deputy Secretary of Defence Gordon England, the Director of National Intelligence, Admiral Michael McConnell, the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, General Michael V. Hayden, and National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley.

Dr. Kellenberger also met for briefings with American Red Cross Chairman Bonnie McElveen-Hunter and American Red Cross staff.

The talks with United States officials focused on matters related to the ICRC's visits to persons in US detention and on the humanitarian situation in some of the ICRC's main areas of operations, including Afghanistan, Iraq, Israel and the Palestinian territories, and the Darfur region of Sudan.

" My meetings confirmed that the relationship between the ICRC and the US has intensified and expanded in recent years. This has resulted in tangible progress on key issues, including detention-related matters, " said Dr Kellenberger. " I also outlined the ICRC's view that the detention of persons captured or arrested in connection with the fight against terrorism must take place within an appropriate legal framework, and that more robust procedural safeguards are needed, especially in Guantanamo Bay. The ICRC and the United States are committed to continue working on these and other issues. "

Regarding the ICRC's meetings with Admiral McConnell and General Hayden, Dr Kellenberger noted that it is also important for the ICRC to engage with the US intelligence community. " The CIA has been active in situations of armed conflict and, as confirmed by President Bush in 2006, it has been involved in holding detainees. This is a subject of particular relevance to the ICRC, " said Dr Kellenberger.

For further information, please contact:
  Simon Schorno, ICRC Washington, tel + 1 202 431 6906
  Anna Nelson, ICRC Geneva, tel +41 79 217 32 64