Red Cross chief to travel to Gaza, hold talks on hostage access

by IANS |

Tel Aviv, Dec 4 (IANS) President of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), Mirjana Spoljaric Egger will travel to Gaza on Monday and hold talks on allowing Red Cross representatives to gain access to the hostages currently under Hamas captivity.

Two weeks ago, the ICRC met Hamas leader Ismael Haniyeh in Qatar for discussions regarding the release of hostages.

Last month, Spoljaric had also met the family members of hostages in Geneva along with Israel Foreign Minister Eli Cohen and Health Minister Uriel Menachem.

In a statement, the office of the ICRC' chief said that it is "insisting that our teams be allowed to visit the hostages to check on their welfare and deliver medications, and for the hostages to be able to communicate with their families".

"Agreements must be reached that allow the ICRC to safely carry out this work. The ICRC cannot force its way in to where hostages are held, nor do we know their location,” the office added.

Earlier, Spoljaric had said that “families of hostages are living through an incredibly heart-wrenching time and I want to underscore how hard we are advocating on behalf of their loved ones".

“This is a key priority for me, and I know the enormous pain the families are enduring.”

She also said that the agency wanted access to the hostages and check upon their medications.

Spoljaric further said that the Red Cross wants the hostages be allowed to speak to their families.

The ICRC chief however, maintained that the Red Cross did not know the location of the hostages and cannot force its way to where the captives are being held by the militant group.

She wants agreements to be made so that the agency could carry out its work safely and added that the ICRC has been consistently demanding for the immediate release of all the hostages.

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