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Rice Says US Accepting International Offers of Assistance


U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice says the United States "has turned down no offers" of emergency assistance coming from around the world.

Dozens of countries say they will send fuel, cash, and humanitarian aid to assist the victims of Hurricane Katrina. Ms. Rice said Friday that State Department officials are working with relief experts to determine which offers should be taken up immediately and which would better meet long-term needs.

State Department officials said they will accept Venezuela's offer of food, fuel, and portable hospitals, but the department does not view the offer as a sign of a fundamental change in the strained relationship between the two countries. Cuba offered to send 1,100 doctors.

Other offers include technical assistance from the Netherlands, a low-lying country that, like the city of New Orleans, depends on a series of dikes and levees for its existence. Singapore has assigned three helicopters and 38 Air Force people to the relief operation.

Ms. Rice said she was "deeply touched" by tsunami-stricken Sri Lanka's donation of $25,000. She said the United States is very grateful for the offers from around the world.

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