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Bush Offers Hu Condolences, US Unveils Quake Aid

May 15, 2008

Agence France-Presse (AFP)
May 13, 2008

WASHINGTON (AFP) -- US President George W. Bush offered his
condolences Tuesday to Chinese President Hu Jintao over a killer
earthquake, the White House said as it announced 500,000 dollars in
initial disaster aid.

"He expressed his condolences on the earthquake, and reiterated his
offer to assist in any way possible," and the two leaders also
discussed Tibet and the catastrophe in Myanmar, said spokeswoman Dana Perino.

"On Burma, the president reiterated his desire to provide additional
assistance to the Burmese people. President Hu offered to continue to
assist our efforts," she said. Washington refers to the country now
known as Myanmar as Burma.

The US president "also raised Tibet, he noted the recent meeting in
China between the Dalai Lama's representative and Chinese officials,"
Perino told reporters."

Bush "encouraged the Chinese government to continue to reach out to
the Dalai Lama's representatives and engage in substantive dialogue
so that longstanding issues with regard to Tibet may be resolved," she said.

On the earthquake, Washington will provide 500,000 dollars through
the US Agency for International Development's (USAID) Office of
Foreign Disaster Assistance and could send more aid if needed, said Perino.

"It's an initial contribution," she said, and as non-governmental
organizations and other aid organs assess China's needs, "we'll
consider what, if any, additional funding is needed to help the
people of China."

The 7.9-magnitude earthquake hit China on Monday leaving more than
12,000 dead and thousands more feared buried.
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