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ICRC president completes talks with senior members of US administration

05-04-2007 News Release 07/47

Geneva/Washington (ICRC) ­– The president of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), Jakob Kellenberger, completed talks today with Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley and senior US officials.

The talks focused on detention-related matters and on the humanitarian situation in some of the ICRC's main areas of operations, including Sudan's Darfur region, Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, and Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories.

Mr Kellenberger noted the quality of the ICRC's dialogue with US authorities but stressed that the detention of persons captured or arrested in connection with the fight against terrorism must take place within an appropriate legal framework. In particular, he insisted on the need for more robust procedural safeguards, especially in Guantanamo Bay and in Bagram, Afghanistan.

The ICRC president also voiced grave concerns about the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Iraq, where thousands of civilians have been driven from their homes and dozens are killed in attacks every day. " The ICRC urges all those with influence on the ground to ensure that the civilian population has adequate access to health care, water, food and electricity, " Mr Kellenberger said.

For further information, please contact:
  Simon Schorno, ICRC Washington, tel + 1 202 431 6906
  Murielle Gras, ICRC Geneva, tel + 41 79 217 32 24
  Florian Westphal, ICRC Geneva, tel +41 79 217 32 80
  Vincent Lusser, ICRC Geneva, tel + 41 79 217 32 64