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Last Updated:  Monday, 31 March, 2003, 17:25 GMT 18:25 UK
Red Cross visits Iraqi POWs
By Imogen Foulkes
BBC correspondent in Switzerland

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has been giving details in Geneva of its first visits to Iraqi prisoners of war, which began on Monday.

A British soldier processes an Iraqi prisoner of war in southern Iraq
The Red Cross did not comment on Iraqi PoWs' conditions
A team of 15 delegates, including one doctor and six interpreters, visited a camp where British and American forces are thought to be holding about 3,000 Iraqi prisoners.

The camp is situated somewhere in southern Iraq, although its precise location has not been revealed.

The Red Cross says its team made a detailed inspection of the camp and saw all the facilities provided for the prisoners.

In line with longstanding ICRC policy, however, delegates would not comment on conditions, saying only that if there were problems, they would be taken up with the camp's authorities.

The ICRC has now begun registering and interviewing the Iraqi prisoners - a process which will take some days.

But there is no news yet about access to coalition prisoners of war held by Iraqi forces.

The ICRC says it is discussing this issue with the Iraqi authorities and it hopes that the first visits to British and US POWs can take place very rapidly - but no date has been set yet.

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