The president of the International Committee of the Red Cross, Jakob Kellenberger, arrives Monday in Syria for two days of talks with senior Syrian officials that are intended to respond to the humanitarian needs of those Syrians wounded and/or displaced. He arrives amid ongoing violence which killed at least 47 on Monday alone, according to opposition groups, and continuing international outcry against the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
"I am determined to see the ICRC and the Syrian Arab Red Crescent expand their presence, range and scope of activities to address the needs of vulnerable people," Kellenberger said in a news release about his third such visit since last June. "This will be a key element of my talks with the Syrian officials."
Kellenberger, who was to meet with Minister of Foreign Affairs Walid al-Mu'alem, Minister of the Interior Major-General Mohamad al-Shaar, and Minister of Health Dr Wael al-Halki, will also raise the issue of access to all places of detention. "Visiting people who have been detained remains a priority for us," he said. "I will also further discuss practical measures for implementing our initiative for a daily two-hour cessation of fighting. A daily pause in the hostilities is essential in order to evacuate wounded people and deliver aid if and when the fighting intensifies."
The release said the ICRC has, in recent weeks, obtained greater access to some of the areas affected by the unrest.FULL STORY