Red Cross denied access to Georgian region of South Ossetia

Other News Materials 18 August 2008 23:32 (UTC +04:00)

The Red Cross is being denied access to the separatist Georgian region of South Ossetia, a spokeswoman for the humanitarian organization said from its headquarters in Geneva, dpa rep[orted.

Despite the assurances of the local authorities in the region, Jakob Kellenberger, the president of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), had not been able to enter the crisis region, Anna Nelson said.

"We still have not been able to assess the humanitarian situation there, and we expect that the situation 10 days after the outbreak of the fighting could be dire," Nelson said.

A meeting between Kellenberger and Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili and other members of his government has also been cancelled, she said.

Kellenberger is expected to meet Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Moscow on Tuesday.

The ICRC says it has shipped 430 tons of aid to the southern Caucasus. Some of the aid has been distributed to refugees in the Tbilisi region, but much is being stored in the Georgian capital for distribution to people in South Ossetia.