The International Committee of the Red Cross issued an urgent appeal Friday to all participants in the gulf war to respect the Geneva Conventions and abide by humanitarian considerations in the conflict.

"One of the most disquieting aspects of this conflict is the possibility that the law of war, which is the expression of the most basic and universal principles of humanity and of the dictates of public conscience, might be swept aside by the political, military or propaganda demands of the moment," Cornelio Sommaruga, president of the all-Swiss body, told a news conference.Sommaruga said the Red Cross is still unable to visit allied fliers held prisoner by the Iraqis but "is continuing its negotiations with Baghdad" on the matter.