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Statement on Deaths of USAID Colleagues in Nepal

Statement on Deaths of Agency for International Development Colleagues in Nepal

Secretary Condoleezza Rice
Washington, DC
September 25, 2006

Today we are greatly saddened to have learned of the deaths of two colleagues at the Nepal Mission of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). Ms. Margaret Alexander and Dr. Bijnan Acharya were aboard a helicopter that crashed Saturday, September 23. We have learned today that there were no survivors among the 24 people on board, among whom were Nepal State Minister for Forests and Soil Conservation Gopal Rai and Embassy of Finland Charge D'Affaires Pauli Mustonen. An American citizen also was among the World Wildlife Fund members who died.

Margaret and Bijnan had just participated in a ceremony marking the handing over of a World Wildlife Fund conservation area to the local community. They both were instrumental in ensuring the sustainable use of Nepal's rich natural resources while promoting democratic principles and transparency. They will be missed by their State Department and USAID colleagues and friends.

Our thoughts and condolences are with the families of all the victims at this time of mourning.

2006/864

Released on September 25, 2006

ENDS

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