Prime Minister Vladimir Putin met with President of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) Jakob Kellenberger
24 november 2008
Prime Minister Vladimir Putin met with President of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) Jakob Kellenberger in a side meeting during the International Humanitarian Law Conference in St Petersburg.
Transcript of the beginning of the meeting:
Vladimir Putin: Mr Kellenberger, I am very pleased to see you in Russia again. We have established very good, stable business relations. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is doing much to alleviate the suffering of people during world conflicts.
We have seen that even if you fail to achieve something, you continue to work towards your goal. Regrettably, you still have a lot of work. For our part, we will do all we can to follow the principles which form the foundation of current international humanitarian law. As we have already mentioned, Russia has taken a direct part in this. We will do all we can to follow these principles, and develop businesslike, constructive relations with the ICRC.
Jakob Kellenberger: (as translated): First of all, I would like to note that we have come to St Petersburg to observe a very important anniversary - 140 years since the adoption of the Declaration Renouncing the Use, in Time of War, of Explosive Projectiles Under 400 Grammes Weight. This document was important for the development of humanitarian law because it was aimed at avoiding unnecessary suffering.
When talking about the spirit of St Petersburg in the ICRC context, we mean this particular declaration, which guarantees observance of humane principles during the war as well.
I would like to note that our cooperation with Russia has been making steady headway in the last few years. We appreciate this trend and the credence which we have been given. Indeed, we are operating independently, and without bias. Our main mission is humanitarian. We are trying to help people and sooth their pain.
I would like to emphasise once again the importance of the intensive efforts to disseminate knowledge of international law in the Russian armed forces, which was mentioned by the Russian Prime Minister. As Red Cross representatives, we see the results of this work.
On a personal note, I would like to mention that I remember very well our meeting with you in March 2000. I am very glad to see you again.