Blake to lead American delegation for SAARC summit in Maldives

Nov 07, Washington, DC: The United States Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Robert O. Blake, Jr. will lead the American delegation to the 17th South Asian Association of Regional Corporation (SAARC) to be held in Addu City, Maldives.

The U.S. Department of State said today Assistant Secretary Blake will travel to the Republic of Maldives from November 8-13 leading the delegation that will include U.S. Ambassador to Nepal and lead U.S. official accredited to SAARC Scott H. DeLisi, and U.S. Ambassador to Sri Lanka and the Maldives Patricia Butenis.

While in the Maldives, Assistant Secretary Blake will also hold bilateral meetings with a broad cross-section of government officials from South Asia and fellow observer nations.

“The theme of the 2011 SAARC Summit, “Building Bridges,” reflects the opportunity for the United States to reaffirm its commitment to engaging with South Asia on our shared interests and challenges, including regional economic cooperation and integration along the New Silk Road, breaking down barriers to trade and travel, and improving people-to-people linkages,” a media note from the State Department said.

The United States has enjoyed observer nation status at SAARC since 2007.

Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa, the current Chairman of SAARC is expected to leave for Maldives tomorrow.

This year’s summit will concentrate on areas where member countries will benefit by mutual co-operation to better understand the problems faced by member countries in order to reduce the margin of possible conflict.

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