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. US presses oil-rich nations for tsunami aid
WASHINGTON (AFP) Jan 06, 2005
The United States has urged several oil-producing nations, especially Gulf states, to be extra generous in donating to tsunami relief, the State Department said Thursday.

The oil producers "have been making contributions and are certainly reflected in the large amount of international aid that has been pledged so far," Department spokesman Adam Ereli pointed out.

However, he emphasized, "The costs of responding to this disaster over the next many years is going to be considerable."

"We're going to need long-term, meaningful help from everybody."

The international community has announced it will give close to four billion dollars to the Indian Ocean countries devastated on December 26 by tsunamis, which killed more than 146,000 people.

Saudi Arabia has pledged 30 million dollars, Qatar 25 million, the United Arab Emirates 20 million and Kuwait 10 million dollars.

"We are going to many of the oil-producing states and urging them to be generous in this time of need, not on the basis of religion, because that's not the issue here," said Ereli, in reference to Indonesia, the country worst hit in the tragedy and with a large Muslim population.

"The issue is that there are people in desperate need."

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