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Step closer to new Red Cross emblem

Calmy-Rey met the Lebanese prime minister, Fawzi Saloukh, at the end of her tour

(Keystone)

Switzerland has won support for a planned conference to discuss a new emblem for the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement.

The announcement came at the end of a three-day whirlwind tour of the Middle East by the Swiss foreign minister, Micheline Calmy-Rey.

The Swiss foreign minister's visit to the region was part of efforts by Switzerland - the depositary state of the Geneva Conventions - to find a new humanitarian emblem.

A foreign ministry spokesman said both the Palestinian leader, Mahmoud Abbas, and Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon told Calmy-Rey they wanted to introduce a third emblem soon.

Switzerland aims to host a diplomatic conference before the end of the year, which would allow Israel's first-aid service, Magen David Adom, to be globally recognised.

The Israeli society insists on its own emblem – a red Star of David. It refuses to operate under either of the two emblems currently used and recognised by the international movement: the cross and the crescent.

Up for discussion is a new emblem – a red crystal, which could be used by Israel.

Some reports in the Israeli press say Magen David Adom would be allowed to place the Star of David within the crystal.

Human trafficking

Calmy-Rey ended her trip in Lebanon where she signed an agreement with the Lebanese justice minister, Charles Rizk, to combat human trafficking.

The accord paves the way for closer cooperation on criminal proceedings.

It comes two months after Lebanon signed the United Nations treaty on organised crime and the protocol on fighting human trafficking and smuggling.

swissinfo with agencies

Key facts

The Federation of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies comprises 181 national societies.
With the ICRC, it forms the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement.
The Movement does not officially recognise the Israeli first-aid society Magen David Adom.

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