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France Offers US$150,000 of Aid to Quake-hit China

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The French Foreign Ministry announced on Friday that France has offered US$150,000 of aid to China for its earthquake relief efforts in the northwestern province of Qinghai.

The Crisis Center of the Foreign Ministry assigned to follow the development of China's earthquake "has contributed a fund of 150,000 dollars to the Chinese Red Cross and France Handicap, the two non-government organizations present at the site," the ministry said in an email to Xinhua.

On Thursday, French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner told Xinhua in an interview that he would like to express his condolences and support to China and the Chinese people.

"If we can do something, we are completely ready, our center for crisis will offer immediate help if necessary. We are also ready to dispatch specialists to help in the rescue efforts," Kouchner said.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy expressed his condolence for Chinese quake victims on Wednesday in a letter to his Chinese counterpart Hu Jintao, saying he was "confident of China's capacity to cope with the new ordeal."

According to latest official statistics, the death toll from the 7.1-magnitude Qinghai earthquake, which occurred early Wednesday morning local time, had reached 1,144, with another 417 people still missing, by Friday afternoon.

(Xinhua News Agency April 17, 2010)

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