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Senior ICRC official to hold aid convoy talks in Kiev, Moscow

Source: Reuters - Thu, 14 Aug 2014 08:08 GMT
Author: Reuters
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GENEVA, Aug 14 (Reuters) - A senior official of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) will travel to Kiev and Moscow for talks on the delivery of Russian aid to eastern Ukraine, an ICRC spokeswoman said on Thursday.

Laurent Corbaz, head of ICRC Operations for Europe and Central Asia, will stress the independent aid agency's "strictly humanitarian role" and that "the delivery of aid should not be politicised", spokeswoman Anastasia Isyuk said.

Corbaz was expected to leave Geneva later on Thursday.

A Russian aid convoy, which has aroused suspicions in Kiev of possible covert military action, was snaking its way through southern Russia, apparently heading to Rostov-on-Don, a Reuters witness said.

"The question of border crossing procedures and customs clearance still have to be clarified between the two sides," Isyuk said.

Asked if the convoy might cross into parts of Ukraine under rebel control, she said that the ICRC would not comment until the two sides reached any final arrangements.

The Ukrainian Red Cross remains the ICRC's "primary partner" for the needs assessments and distribution of the humanitarian aid in the country, including in the Donbass region, she added.

The region is the main stronghold of pro-Russian separatists fighting Ukrainian government forces. (Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay, editing by John Stonestreet)

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