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Albright Says U.S. Working on Logistics to Aid UN

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - Secretary of State Madeleine Albright said on Monday the United States was looking at ways it could provide logistical support to help deal with the crisis in Sierra Leone, where a U.N. peacekeeping operation is in disarray.

After an hour-long meeting with U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, she told reporters: ``We have been having discussions with the Nigerians, as has the secretary-general, and we are just going to be looking at different ways that the international community and we can be supportive.''

Diplomats said Nigeria was considering sending two battalions to Sierra Leone, but not as part of the U.N. operation, and the United States might help get them there.

``The idea from the Nigerian side is to get people in there fast and the United States may be considering the mechanics of doing so,'' one envoy said.

Albright did not elaborate on her reference to Nigeria, which until recently led a West African intervention force in Sierra Leone that fought the rebels and helped restore the elected government to power. It has since been replaced by the U.N. peacekeepers.

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