ICRC President Peter Mauer expressed the pride of the world’s largest humanitarian organization in its distinguished relationship with Syria, upon his arrival in Damascus on Tuesday. He was officially received by Foreign and Expatriates Minister Walid al Moallem and Deputy Foreign and Expatriates Minister Faisal Mikdad.
The gentlemen discussed the importance of ongoing essential coordination and cooperation with the Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC), to ensure “that the services provided by the ICRC reach all the groups affected by the terrorist war and sanctions imposed on Syria.”
Discussing the urgency in overcoming “challenges and obstacles,” Minister Moallem also stressed the necessity of the Committee to abide “by the principles of humanitarian work” and to prevent “any side from influencing or politicizing its work and projects, and from damaging the positive relation[ship the ICRC] has with Syria.” Regions of newly liberated Syria require special attention to meet the needs of IDPs who are returning to their homes.
The Syrian Arab Red Crescent was admitted to the IFRC/ ICRC in 1948. It currently has more than 7,500 active volunteers.
President Mauer then held a joint press conference with Khaled Haboutbti, the Head of the Syrian Arab Red Crescent. The ICRC president described the increased challenges of humanitarian work caused by the “economic blockade on Syria [which] widely affects the society, economy and the basic humanitarian needs” of the Syrian citizenry.
Dr. Mauer stressed that the current challenges in Syria are not confined to the provision of humanitarian needs among the population, but that the politicization of the crisis, specifically involving Idlib, increases the challenges of the ICRC / SARC collaborative humanitarian work.
ICRC President Mauer, seated with SARC President Haboubti, told members of the press that Syria will receive increased attention from the guardians of International Humanitarian Law, in the coming months.