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Rice Heads for Central Asia

October 11, 2005|From Associated Press

SHANNON, Ireland — Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice embarked Monday on a trip to Central Asia and Afghanistan, saying she might also inspect earthquake damage in Pakistan.

Rice, who planned her trip before the temblor, said she would ask the Pakistani government whether her presence would help. The United States is contributing cash and equipment to the relief effort.

"I don't want to do anything that gets in the way of the considerable task" of rescue and cleanup, Rice said in a news conference on her plane. "I want it to be fully understood that being in the area, I would be most happy to go if that would be helpful."

On her trip, she will celebrate successful elections in Afghanistan and in Kyrgyzstan, her first stop.

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