– It is neither a confession nor a condemnation, says the Secretary-General of the Norwegian Red Cross.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov met with the President of the International Committee of the Red Cross, Peter Maurer, in Moscow on Thursday.
The New York Times He writes that the meeting received sharp criticism after publishing photos showing the two smiling together – and shaking hands.
Maurer had been due to meet Lavrov during a two-day visit to Moscow this week for humanitarian discussions about the war.
They were to discuss, among other things, safe passage for civilians out of war-torn areas, protection of civilian and civilian infrastructure, assistance to prisoners of war, and increased humanitarian aid.
Photos of de Lavrov and Maurer spread on the Internet – which, according to the New York Times, led to reactions from Ukrainians and their supporters. The newspaper wrote that many responded that the Red Cross did not condemn the actions of the Russian government and some believed that the visit “legitimizes the government responsible for the conflict.”
Many Ukrainians responded to the meeting on social media.
Among other things, the Ukrainian journalist Anastasia Lapatina published a photo of the leader of the Red Cross and the Russian Foreign Minister with the following text:
To say this doesn’t look good is an understatement.
Former Ukrainian Ambassador Oleksandr Sherpa wrote the following Twitter:
Add the Red Cross to the long list of organizations and companies whose reputation will be in the trash when this war is over.
No confession, no conviction
“My conversations with the Russian authorities are part of an existing and ongoing bilateral dialogue between the ICRC and Russia on humanitarian needs and international humanitarian law,” Maurer said in a statement. The website of the International Committee of the Red Cross.
– Last week I was in Kyiv and this week I was in Moscow; I have also visited the Donbass region many times. We talk to all parties for the same goal: to save lives and reduce suffering during armed conflict.
The Secretary-General of the Norwegian Red Cross told VG that the aid organization never takes sides between the parties to the conflict – and that they are impartial and independent.
The reason for this is that our mission is to reach out to people affected by conflict.
Abeland says he understands that for many, the Red Cross can demand talks with all sides.
But this has been our method for 160 years, and it has proven to be a successful way to get into more situations than others to get help.
He believes that Maurer’s meeting is positive.
Not a confession or a conviction. There is simply an emphasis on access to be able to get help and help people out of difficult situations.
We are concerned that the warring parties must respect the Geneva Conventions, and it is good to remind political leaders of that. Another dimension of this is that negotiating and gaining trust can provide an opportunity to carry out safe evictions in places like Mariupol. If we want to achieve this, we rely on the trust of both parties.
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