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Red Cross chief holds Syria talks in Moscow

International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) President Jakob Kellenberger has flown to Moscow to hold urgent talks about the worsening situation in Syria.

This content was published on March 18, 2012 - 18:45 and agencies

Some 8,000 people are thought to have been killed in the year-long uprising against Syrian President Bashar Assad. Russia, along with China, has vetoed proposals at the United Nations to condemn Assad’s regime.

Up to three explosions in the Syrian capital of Damascus on Saturday killed 27 people and wounded at least 100, according to state media reports.

Kellenberger will meet Russian Foreign Affairs Minister Sergei Lavrov in Moscow on Monday to discuss the problems facing the ICRC and its sister organisation, the Arab Red Crescent, as the humanitarian situation “deteriorates”.

“A daily cessation in the fighting for a period of at least two hours remains essential in order for emergency medical evacuations to take place safely and for aid to reach vulnerable people swiftly,” Kellenberger said in a statement.

“The ICRC is asking for an unambiguous commitment from all concerned to these breaks in the fighting, so that it can reach people in urgent need.”

Russia refuses to back a UN demand for the Syrian regime to cease firing on rebels and civilians. It wants the demand to apply equally to all sides of the conflict.

UN and Arab League special envoy Kofi Annan was due to dispatch a technical team to Syria on Sunday.

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