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Hillary on the Earthquake in China:
Like all Americans, my thoughts and prayers are with the people of China, as they grapple with the devastation caused by the terrible earthquake which struck Sichuan province earlier today. I extend my condolences to those who have lost loved ones and am especially grieved by the number of children who have been affected. I welcome President Bush’s offer of assistance, and join with him and all Americans in our readiness to help in any way at this time of need.
Hillary on the Current Situation in Burma:
As the humanitarian situation in Burma continues to deteriorate, it is critical that the United States and the international community do everything possible to get humanitarian assistance into the country to save lives.
The Burmese junta has blocked international efforts, prevented humanitarian workers from distributing assistance, and insisted that the junta control aid distribution itself.
The Bush administration must work urgently and at the highest levels with other governments that have leverage with Burma to persuade its rulers to allow aid to reach those in need without interference.
The United States should continue to press for access to deliver assistance directly. Equally important, the Bush administration should work through friends and partners in the region, including India, Japan, and Thailand. We should also provide aid, logistical, and other support to international organizations already on the ground.
While I welcome reports of some increase in the delivery of humanitarian assistance, including the arrival of the first American aid flight, we must make it clear to Burma’s military rulers that the international community will hold them responsible if they refuse to meet their international obligations by blocking access and aid to the people of their country who are in dire need. We cannot allow politics to obstruct the delivery of assistance that can prevent this grave humanitarian situation from getting worse.
Please visit the Red Cross to learn more about disaster relief efforts.