Australian Prime Minister to announce more aid for Pakistan

Australian Prime Minister John Howard was expected to announce more aid for Pakistan's recovery from its Oct. 8 earthquake during meetings Tuesday with Pakistani leaders in Islamabad. Howard was scheduled to meet in the Pakistani capital with his counterpart Shaukat Aziz and President Gen. Pervez Musharraf, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Tasnim Aslam said. She gave no further details, but officials have said that Howard will announce more aid for survivors of the disaster.

Howard's visit comes after donors at an international conference in Islamabad on Saturday pledged US$5.8 billion (Ђ5 billion) for relief and reconstruction work in areas of Pakistan affected by the quake that killed about 87,000 people.

Australia, which this month sent a 140-member medical team to help avert a humanitarian crisis in quake-hit areas in Pakistan's part of Kashmir, has so far pledged US$10.6 million (Ђ8.9 million) in quake relief, the Foreign Ministry said.

Howard arrived late Monday from neighboring Afghanistan, where he made an unannounced trip to meet Australian commandos fighting Taliban and al-Qaida militants and held talks with President Hamid Karzai, reports the AP. I.L.

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