Saudi Arabia: ICRC president fosters greater humanitarian cooperation

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09-07-2014 News Release 14/119

Geneva / Kuwait (ICRC) – Peter Maurer, the president of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), has just completed a two-day visit to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. He met with the Vice Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, HRH Crown Prince Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud, the Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs, HRH Prince Abdulaziz bin Abdullah bin Abdulaziz al-Saud, and the Undersecretary of Interior, Dr Ahmed bin Mohammed al-Salem. This was President Maurer’s first visit to Saudi Arabia since assuming office in 2012.

"Our talks focused on the escalating violence in the Middle East, namely Syria, Iraq, Yemen, and Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory," said Mr Maurer. "We discussed the ICRC's humanitarian response and its efforts to promote greater respect for humanitarian principles during conflict, with the support of governments like that of Saudi Arabia. There is a great deal of common ground between the tenets of Islam and international humanitarian law, which is something we want to explore further together through training, research and dialogue."

Mr Maurer also met the President of the Saudi Red Crescent Authority, HRH Prince Faisal bin Abdullah al-Saud. "There is a lot of potential for the relationship between the ICRC and the Saudi Red Crescent to grow," he said. "We are interested in working together more closely in various fields, such as providing health care in conflicts and pooling our resources to address humanitarian crises worldwide."

Mr Maurer also discussed the humanitarian challenges facing people around the world, and particularly in the Middle East, with the Secretary General of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), Mr Iyad Amin Madani. They exchanged thoughts on the positive role the OIC could play in facilitating the work of humanitarian organizations.

At present, the ICRC is actively involved in delivering humanitarian services in major conflicts including Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, South Sudan, Yemen, the Central African Republic and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The organization works and advocates for the protection of civilians, wounded people, medical staff and facilities, and people detained in connection with conflict.    

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