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US seamen aid cleanup

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PHUKET: The United States Ambassador to Thailand, Ralph Boyce, was in Phuket yesterday visiting sailors from the US Navy who were helping in the post-tsunami clean-up.

Some of the 1,200 sailors, in Kamala for three days to clear wrecked buildings and other debris, joined Ambassador Boyce in delivering to Thai students food, clothes, books and cards made by American schoolchildren.

Ambassador Boyce told a press conference aboard the USS Blue Ridge, the command ship of the US Seventh Fleet, that while the Thai government had said it did not need direct financial aid, the US Navy was happy to provide practical help in restoring the environment.

“We were impressed that the Thai government and Thai people could support themselves after the tsunami, and by the way they helped foreign tourists who were travelling in Thailand, as well as other countries affected by the tsunami,” the Ambassador said.

He added that the US was trying to support Thai tourism by making it known to businessmen and tourists that they should no longer avoid Thailand because of the tsunami. He added that the recent visit by former presidents Bill Clinton and George Bush Snr had “shown the world that Phuket is already welcoming tourists”.

He continued, “We hope that tourism to all six [affected] provinces will return soon. Americans are always happy to help Thailand any time.”

 

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