Mr Gnaedinger briefed the Foreign Minister on the ICRC's preparations for a possible armed conflict in Iraq while expressing the hope that war could still be avoided. He stressed that, in the event of a full-fledged war, the ICRC planned to maintain a team of expatriate and local staff inside Iraq to carry out life-saving activities.
The Director-General and the Foreign Minister discussed the obligation of all States party to the Geneva Conventions to fully respect the provisions of international humanitarian law. In this connection, the Director-General raised the still unresolved issue of prisoners of war and persons unaccounted for as a result of the Iran-Iraq war and the 1991 Gulf War.
The ICRC has maintained a permanent presence in Iraq since 1980, carrying out a range of activities, including the upkeep and repair of water and sanitation infrastructure, hospitals and health centres. The organization is also active in most neighbouring countries.
For more information, please contact:
Roland Huguenin-Benjamin, ICRC Baghdad, tel: ++ 964 1 717 47 51
Nada Doumani, ICRC Geneva, tel: ++41 22 730 27 56