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GENEVA, February 23. /TASS/. The president of the International Committee of the Red Cross, Peter Maurer, has told TASS that he is due to visit Moscow and Kiev this week to discuss plans for creating an international tool for providing humanitarian aid to the citizens of eastern Ukraine.
"Taking into consideration the demands in the region, and especially in Ukraine’s east, I hope to reach a broad agreement on increasing humanitarian aid," Maurer said in an exclusive interview with TASS ahead of his visit to Moscow on February 23-25 and to Kiev on February 25-27.
For this purpose, "an international mechanism" needs to be agreed and the ICRC wants to "make its own contribution" to solving this problem, he said. Therefore, first the sides need to be given guarantees that this activity will be of a humanitarian character.
"I believe, it is essential that all the parties of this mechanism come to an agreement on their role, responsibilities, decisions and contribution," he explained.
The ICRC links new possibilities for expanding assistance with the agreements reached in Minsk on February 12, which envisage a ceasefire. "We are inspired by the Minsk agreement," Maurer said, adding that the ICRC hopes that this deal "will open more possibilities for humanitarian aid."
"We hope that the current ceasefire will be efficient so that we could also use this opportunity and find the best conditions for increasing our operations in the region," he said.
Maurer said the experience of successful humanitarian operations should be used in eastern Ukraine, and in particular the Focus program of 1999 that was carried out in Yugoslavia by Russia, Switzerland, Greece and Austria.
Speaking on whether the Red Cross plans to send its own humanitarian convoys to eastern Ukraine, Maurer said: "Of course, we seek to organise in an efficient way the convoys and the delivery of humanitarian aid to eastern Ukraine and other parts of the region. We will continue intensifying these efforts and we hope that we will be able to make a contribution to a broader scheme of aid and a mechanism that will be developed in the near future."
Maurer said the goal of his visits to Moscow and Kiev is to "clarify who is responsible and for what as part of an international mechanism." He also did not rule out the possibility of visiting the war-torn Donetsk and Lugansk regions.