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ICRC chief hopes for further cooperation with Russia

The Red Cross chief praises Russia's efforts in Ukraine and Syria

GENEVA, June 20. /TASS/. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) hopes for further cooperation with Russia, ICRC President Peter Maurer told TASS on Monday.

"Over the last decades already - but in the last 4 or 5 years in particular - Russia has supported a lot the work of the ICRC, in particular with regard to the conflict in Ukraine, and with regard to the conflict in Syria where we could always count on the political support of Russia for the understanding of our work," he said. "And we hope that this cooperation will further increase in the future. Because needs are big and we need the support of everybody, including Russia, for neutral and impartial and independent humanitarian work."

Maurer took part on Monday in the opening ceremony of the exhibition dedicated to the contribution of Grand Duchess Elizabeth Feodorovna of Russia to the activities of the Russian Red Cross society. In his speech at the Palace of Nations, he stressed that traditions of philanthropy and humanitarian principles "have been strong in Russia which has also made a critical contribution to the development of international humanitarian law."

He cited as an example the St-Petersburg Declaration of 1868 "which recommended - at the initiative of Russia - to limit the use of certain weapons and ammunition causing unnessary suffering to victims of conflicts." This document, in his words, was "an important benchmark at the origin of the development of the Hague law and other legal instruments."

He noted that the Russian Red Cross, set up in May 1867, was among the first national societies.

"International humanitarian law was not invented here only in Geneva, but there were important other sources in the 19th century," Maurer told TASS. "There was a proud tradition in countries like Russia."

The exhibition at the Palace of Nations "just reminds us that humanitarian work today - with the spreading of violence and conflict with violation of international law - is all than more important," he said. "It is important to know that historical roots of this work go back far beyond just one place and one group of people, but have a proud tradition in other countries like Russia."

The exhibition featuring numerous archive documents and photos was organized by the by Russia’s permanent mission to the United Nations Geneva Office and other Geneva-based international organization with support from the Elisabeth and Sergius Educational Society.