Daily Archives: May 15, 2006


Red Cross Repeatedly Denied Access to US Prisoners

The break with their usual quiet diplomacy illustrates the Red Cross’s level of frustration at the intransigence of the US administration.

From The Guardian

WASHINGTON (AP) – Taking issue with the International Committee of the Red Cross, the State Department said Friday the United States is not obliged under the Geneva conventions to give the committee access to all prisoners under U.S. jurisdiction.

Department spokesman Sean McCormack commented in response to criticism about U.S. policies by ICRC President Jakob Kellenberger.

Setting aside his normal practice of keeping his views confidential, Kellenberger said in a statement Friday that he deplored the Bush administration’s refusal to allow ICRC access to prisoners being held in secret facilities.

”No matter how legitimate the grounds for detention, there exists no right to conceal a person’s whereabouts or to deny that he or she is being detained,” Kellenberger said.

He said the ICRC would continue to seek access to these people ”as a matter of priority” despite the ”the disappointing lack of results and the current U.S. position.”

Kellenberger issued his statement through the ICRC’s Geneva headquarters after meetings here with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and other officials.

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Beckett defends her position on Iran

Craig Murray, the former ambassador to Uzbekistan and critic of the government’s foreign policy, said that no-one should underestimate the possibility of military strikes against Iran.

“Margaret Beckett was basically saying: ‘We don’t have any intentions to invade Iran at this present moment but we might change our intentions tomorrow,'” Mr Murray said. If he were the Iranian ambassador to London he would be “very worried” by the phraseology.

From The Scotsman

MARGARET Beckett, the new Foreign Secretary, has defended her decision not to rule out military action against Iran.

While her predecessor, Jack Straw, had said an invasion of the country was “inconceivable”, Mrs Beckett has refused to go as far.

Instead, she has used the non-committal phrase that there was “no intention” to mount an attack on the Tehran regime over its nuclear programme.

Her remarks came as western diplomats reported that international weapons inspectors had discovered new traces of highly enriched uranium on nuclear equipment in Iran.

The Foreign Secretary had insisted that her semantics did not represent any shift in policy, even though it was not as unequivocal as the language used by Mr Straw.

“It is quite deliberately different,” she told The World at One on BBC Radio 4.

She said she had decided within hours of her appointment last week that she would avoid the terms used by Mr Straw to avoid being the subject of “nit-picking analysis”.

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