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Mideast upheaval pushes back Geneva emblem summit

Several emblem proposals were put forward to try to reach a compromise which would allow Israeli entry into the grouping

(Keystone)

Switzerland has postponed a diplomatic conference on adding a new emblem to those of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.

The foreign ministry said on Thursday that because of the increasing tensions in the Middle East, the summit was being pushed back to the beginning of next year.

The conference was to have taken place on October 25 and 26 in Geneva, with delegates from 189 member states taking part in the emblem discussions.

The debate centres on whether to adopt another emblem besides the red cross and red crescent, and what the third symbol should be.

The main disagreement is on the proposed symbol - a double chevron in the form of a diamond, inside which national societies would be able to place their own symbol.

Israel's humanitarian organisation, the Red Star of David, or Magen David Adom, has for over half a century been denied full membership because its emblem is not allowed under the Geneva Conventions.

The Red Cross movement has frequently voiced concern that allowing the symbol would lead to a proliferation of emblems, which could weaken the protective value of the cross and the crescent in the world's trouble spots.

Resolution of the problem would pave the way for the admission of Israel into the movement.

Switzerland is the depository country of the Geneva Conventions, and announced in September it would be holding the conference, in a bid to press ahead and secure a resolution.

swissinfo with agencies


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