As delivered by Chargé d’Affaires Gary Robbins the Permanent Council
Vienna, January 30, 2014
The United States joins others in warmly welcoming Ambassador Peter Maurer, President of the International Committee of the Red Cross.
We honor the work that the ICRC has done over the past 150 years. With its founding principles of impartiality, neutrality, and independence, the ICRC is able to carry out crucial work where others cannot. The United States values the ICRC’s work and relies on its capacity, particularly in conflict situations. In fiscal year 2013, the United States contributed more than $280 million to the ICRC’s work, which reflects our confidence in the organization. We look forward to supporting the ICRC in the future as we confront significant humanitarian need around the globe.
Above all, the ICRC helps people, and the United States supports the ICRC’s priorities in Europe and Eurasia: promoting international humanitarian law, detention visits for both prisoners of war and civilians detained during armed conflict, and clarifying the fate of people missing in connection with conflict. Recent work, such as supporting emergency response teams of the Ukrainian Red Cross Society to evacuate casualties from all sides of the ongoing protests in Ukraine, is particularly timely and welcome.
We encourage the ICRC and the OSCE, very different organizations, to work together where both have field missions, such as Azerbaijan, Armenia, the Western Balkans, Kyrgyzstan, and Uzbekistan. The ICRC mission in Georgia is a tangible reminder of the unfinished work that remains in that country- work that we hope the OSCE can one day complement with a reestablished presence on the ground.
President Maurer, thank you for your presentation today and for the ongoing, critical, and vital work of the ICRC.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.