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New Red Cross emblem allows Israel’s participation

Annan hails new Red Cross emblem paving the way for Israel’s participation

United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan today welcomed the adoption of a nondenominational humanitarian emblem, the Red Crystal, in addition to the Red Cross and Red Crescent, voicing hope that it will open the way for Israel’s Magen David Adom (Red Shield of David) to be admitted as a full member of the movement.

He noted that the new emblem will have the same legal significance, and enjoy the same legal protection, as both the Red Cross and the Red Crescent, “which for over a century have symbolized the humanity, impartiality, neutrality and independence of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement.”

The signatory countries of the Geneva Conventions adopted the additional symbol at a diplomatic conference in Geneva last night.

In a statement issued by his spokesman, Mr. Annan said he hoped this would enable the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement “to become fully universal, and thus to bring aid and protection to the victims of war, natural disasters and other catastrophes more efficiently, wherever they may be.

“He hopes in particular that it will open the way for societies that are not yet formally part of the Movement, such as the Israeli Magen David Adom (Red Shield of David), to be admitted as full members,” the statement added.

“He also hopes that the Palestinian Red Crescent Society will in due course be admitted to membership. In this connection, he welcomes last week's agreement on operational arrangements between these two societies,” it concluded.

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