- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 1, 2005

Canadians ‘touched’

Canadian Ambassador Frank McKenna is trying to keep fellow Canadians in the United States updated about their government’s efforts to help the victims of Hurricane Katrina.

Canada on Wednesday was among the first nations to contact Washington to offer any support needed to relieve the suffering in New Orleans and other areas of the Gulf Coast.

“Canadians have been touched by the plight of the hundreds of thousands of people who have been left destitute by Hurricane Katrina,” the ambassador said in an e-mail yesterday “to our Canadian friends in the U.S. media.”

In Ottawa yesterday, Gen. Rick Hillier, chief of Canada’s defense staff, met with U.S. Ambassador David Wilkins and announced plans to help with relief efforts.

Mr. McKenna said Canada’s public safety agency has been “working closely” with the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Department of Health and Human Services to prepare an inventory of relief supplies that can be sent to the stricken areas.

“The effects of this powerful storm will be felt by our American friends and by Canadians in the area for a long time,” Mr. McKenna said. “We can only hope that despite the storm’s devastating impact, the loss of human life will be minimal.”

Prime Minister Paul Martin offered Canada’s help in a statement on Wednesday and called President Bush yesterday. However, the Conservative opposition criticized the Liberal Party leader for what it called his slow response to the American disaster.

“I want the message to be loud and clear from the prime minister that when our American friends are hurt, we want to be there for them,” said Stockwell Day, a member of parliament and the Conservative Party’s foreign affairs spokesman.

“The United States is always the first to respond when others are hit by disasters,” he said. “If Canada was hit, we know that the United States would be the first to be by our side.”

Israel offers doctors

Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon yesterday offered to send medical teams to help the hurricane victims and said they can be ready to go in 24 hours.

In a letter to President Bush, he sent his “sincerest condolences on the horrible tragedy that has befallen the United States.”

The Israeli Embassy said Israel can send doctors, nurses, field hospitals, medical kits and equipment for temporary housing, among other medical supplies.

Diplomatic traffic

Foreign visitors in Washington next week include:

Tuesday

• Mugisha Muntu of the East African Legislative Assembly and Proscovia Salaamu Musumba of the Ugandan parliament, who hold a 1 p.m. press conference at the National Press Club.

• Georgi Pirinski, speaker of the Bulgarian parliament, who addresses the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.

• Vice President Rodolfo Nin Novoa of Uruguay, who addresses invited guests of the Inter-American Dialogue at the Uruguayan Embassy.

Wednesday

• President Hu Jintao of China, who meets with President Bush.

• Karsten D. Voigt, coordinator of German-North American Cooperation in the German Foreign Ministry. He will represent Germany at a dinner for newspaper columnist Viola Herms Drath, who will receive an award from the National Committee on American Foreign Policy for her work for German reunification. He holds a 3 p.m. press conference Thursday at the National Press Club.

Thursday

• Jayantha Dhanapala, former Sri Lankan ambassador to the United States and currently director of the government’s Peace Secretariat that is negotiating with rebels of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam.

Friday

• Foreign Minister Ursula Plassnik of Austria, who meets with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Richard G. Lugar.

Call Embassy Row at 202/636-3297, fax 202/832-7278 or e-mail jmorrison@washingtontimes.com.

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