IRRC No. 278

ICRC President in the Middle East

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ICRC President Cornelio Sommaruga, accompanied by Mr. Angelo Gnaedinger, the Delegate General for the Middle East, was in the Middle East from 3 to 7 September 1990 for high-level talks with the Jordanian, Iraqi and Iranian authorities concerning the Gulf crisis. To quote President Sommaruga, the purpose of this mission was to achieve a “comprehensive humanitarian mobilization”. The mission itself was in keeping with the ICRC's mandate to act in the event of international armed conflict on the basis of the 1949 Geneva Conventions and the institution's statutory right of initiative. It had four main objectives:• to provide protection and assistance, in both Iraq and Kuwait, to the various categories of civilians affected by the events;• to improve co-ordination and step up the ICRC's operation in Jordan in behalf of foreigners transiting through the country;• to examine possibilities of assisting foreign nationals crossing other borders (particularly into Iran);• to review the current situation with regard to the repatriation of Iraqi and Iranian prisoners of war.

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