Red Cross chief to meet Syrian president

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The head of the Red Cross was to visit Syria for talks with President Bashar al-Assad over access to prisoners and areas worst affected by the anti-government crackdown, his office said Saturday.

Jakob Kellenberger, the president of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), would be paying a two-day visit to the capital Damascus, said a statement.

Sources in Damascus said the visit would begin Sunday with meetings with the Syrian Prime Minister Adel Safar and Foreign Minister Walid Muallem.

"During the ICRC president's visit to Syria in June, an understanding was reached according to which the ICRC and the Syrian Arab Red Crescent would have enhanced access to areas of unrest, and negotiations would take place concerning ICRC visits to detainees," said the ICRC statement.

"The purpose of the talks to be held in the Syrian capital ... is to review progress made in both these areas since June."

© 2011 AFP

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