The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said on Monday that its president, Mirjana Spoljaric, visited Qatar for a meeting with Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh. According to the ICRC, the meeting focused on addressing humanitarian issues arising from the armed conflict between Israel and Gaza.
The diplomatic effort coincides with ongoing negotiations to secure the release of some of the 240 hostages taken by Hamas during their attacks on Israel on October 7, which resulted in approximately 1,200 deaths, predominantly civilians.
The ICRC emphasized the objective of Spoljaric’s visit was to facilitate direct discussions with all parties involved to enhance adherence to international humanitarian law. The organization highlighted her recent meetings with the families of hostages held in Gaza and senior leaders from both Israeli and Palestinian sides.
The ICRC claims to have been vocal in its calls for the immediate release of hostages and has stressed the necessity for its teams to have access to the hostages to ensure their welfare, including the provision of medications and enabling communication with their families.
While the ICRC has facilitated the release of four hostages on two separate occasions, the organization clarified that it does not participate in the negotiations for hostage release. However, it remains prepared to act as a neutral humanitarian intermediary to facilitate any future releases agreed upon by the conflicting parties.
(YWN World Headquarters – NYC)