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Kuwait Pledges $500M for Hurricane Relief

By Associated Press

KUWAIT CITY -- The oil-rich Persian Gulf state of Kuwait said Sunday it will donate $500 million in aid to U.S. relief efforts after Hurricane Katrina.

The offer is the largest known put forward since the hurricane ravaged Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama and follows a $100 million aid donation from the emir of a Mideast neighbor, Qatar.

Kuwait's energy minister said his country would provide "oil products that the disaster-stricken states need in addition to other humanitarian aid."

"It's our duty as Kuwaitis to stand by our friends to lighten the humanitarian misery and as a payback for the many situations during which Washington helped us through the significant relations between the two friendly countries," Sheik Ahmed Fahd Al Ahmed Al Sabah said in a statement carried by Kuwait's official news agency, KUNA.

Kuwait is one of America's closest Mideast allies and owes its 1991 liberation from Iraqi occupation forces to a U.S.-led coalition that drove Saddam Hussein's army out.

Kuwait and Qatar's donations came as the Egypt-based 22-member Arab League called on Arab nations to provide relief to the U.S.

The Arab League said that its secretary-general, Amr Moussa, sent a cable of "deep condolences and regret to the U.S. administration over the effect of Hurricane Katrina ... and called on all Arab countries to extend aid to the United States to face the exceptional humane circumstances."

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