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US declines Swedish aid - for now

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13:46 CEST+02:00

The United States has declined water sanitation aid from Sweden in the wake of the deadly Hurricane Katrina, saying it was currently unable to accept foreign aid packages, the Swedish Rescue Services Agency said on Sunday.

Sweden had offered to send medical and technical aid to the hurricane-ravaged southern United States, and had been planning to send a military cargo plane filled with water sanitation equipment as well as five water sanitation experts on Sunday morning.

Early Sunday however, Swedish authorities received word that the US logistically could not immediately accept the aid.

"The planned... flight to the US with aid equipment from the Rescue Services Agency will not take place on Sunday," the agency said in a statement.

According to the Swedish foreign ministry however, the US has not formally declined the Scandinavian country's help going forward.

"They couldn't accept the aid today (but) we're still waiting for word that they may need our help," ministry spokeswoman Miriam Mannbro told AFP.

Rescue Services Agency spokesman Per Ström meanwhile told Swedish news agency TT that aid could be sent "within a day of receiving the green light from the Americans".

"I know there's a will and a need for this equipment, but this is about logistics," he said

AFP

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