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France May Mobilize Relief From Caribbean

French humanitarian aid officials met on Thursday to examine ways of providing support for victims of Hurricane Katrina (search) in the United States, a French Foreign Ministry spokesman said. France is considering ways of mobilizing relief teams from the French Antilles (search) in the Caribbean, ministry spokesman Denis Simonneau said at a news conference.

"France expresses its readiness to bring this aid based on the needs American authorities express," he said. French authorities were following Katrina's aftermath "with particular attention," he added.

Authorities set up a telephone hotline in France for people to obtain information about relatives or friends who may be missing in the hurricane-ravaged region, Simonneau said.

It was not immediately clear how many French citizens might have been in the region when the hurricane hit.

A day earlier, French President Jacques Chirac (search) sent a message of solidarity to U.S. President George W. Bush, saying France was standing by the victims of the hurricane.