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Iran: Spanish foreign minister tours quake-hit Bam

Spanish Foreign Minister Ana Palacio on Saturday toured the southeastern Iranian city of Bam which was flattened in an earthquake on December 26, IRNA reported from Kerman.

Spanish relief teams in the city briefed her on humanitarian assistance to the victims` families as well as goods and services in demand.

Talking to reporters at Bam airport, Palacio, who was on a one-day visit, renewed the sympathy of the Spanish government and people with Iranians and described the disaster as a `sad tragedy` which stretched beyond international borders.

"All world countries rushed to the assistance of those afflicted in this grave tragedy out of a sense of duty," she said.

The Spanish government, Palacio said, had contributed aid, worth 1.5 million dollars, including medicines, blankets, tents and water treatment units.

This sum is part of the four million dollars, which Spain has granted in emergency and relief aid, she said.

"Our country feels responsible with regard to the city`s reconstruction as well and has made contributions in this effect," she added.

According to Palacio, the Spanish government has allocated 20 million dollars for the reconstruction of Bam.

"This credit is not in cash and instead, it will be spent in the form of contributions to the execution of reconstruction projects. "I hope when I come to Iran next time I would see the city of Bam and its citadel rebuilt," she said.

Spain has sent nine planeloads of relief to Iran, besides a team of doctors and nurses who are providing medical aid at a field hospital to those injured in Bam.

Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul also arrived in Tehran Saturday to extend the condolences of the Turkish government and people on the death of thousands in Bam.

Turkey dispatched rescue and relief teams shortly after the city was hit.

EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana is planned to visit Bam during his two-day stay in Iran, starting Sunday night, `to pay tribute to all those involved in the rescue operations, as well as to express the EU`s solidarity to the populations affected, alongside the commitment to providing assistance to the humanitarian and reconstruction efforts`.

The ancient Silk Road city was razed by a 6.6-magnitude earthquake, which killed more than 30,000.

The quake also destroyed the famous 2,000-old Bam Citadel, said to be the world`s biggest mud-brick structure.

... Payvand News - 1/10/04 ... --

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