Obama offers `deep condolences` to New Zealand PM

US President called John Key and reaffirmed the US offer of assistance.

Washington: US President Barack Obama called New Zealand`s Prime Minister John Key late Wednesday to offer assistance after the devastating earthquake in Christchurch, the White House said.

Obama offered "deep condolences over the devastating earthquake" and reaffirmed the US offer of assistance, read a statement from the office of White House spokesman Jay Carney.

"The President noted that a US search and rescue team was on its way to New Zealand, and said the United States was ready to provide whatever further support was needed in this difficult time," the statement read.

Obama also "underscored the close and enduring friendship" between the United States and New Zealand.

Key in turn "described the determination of the people of Christchurch and New Zealand in the face of this tragedy," and thanked Obama of the US support.

Tuesday`s shallow, 6.3-magnitude earthquake in New Zealand, the country`s worst natural disaster in 80 years, left nearly 400 people dead or missing.

Bureau Report

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