U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Robert O. Blake, Jr. arrived here, heading a delegation, to attend the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) Summit.
Mr. Blake, 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, will represent the U.S. at the SAARC Summit. Mr. Blake will also hold bilateral meetings with a broad cross-section of government officials from South Asia and fellow observer nations, a release from the U.S. embassy in Colombo said. The U.S. has enjoyed observer nation status at SAARC since 2007.
Meanwhile, ahead of the 34th Session of the SAARC Council of Ministers on Wednesday, most of the Foreign Ministers from the region have arrived. The Indian Foreign Minister and the Bangladeshi Foreign Minister will arrive on Wednesday.
The Minister's meeting aims to establish common SAARC positions on a range of issues, from transport and communications, to climate change and good governance, before the SAARC Heads of State and Government arrive. The main SAARC Summit will take place on November 10 and 11.
The tiny Atoll prepares to cope with demands from about 5000 visitors, who have begun arriving from SAARC nations and elsewhere. There are quite a few teething troubles, as could be expected at an event of this magnitude.
The Equatorial Convention Centre, fully designed and built by Maldivians, is the main venue for the Summit. A workforce of 650 built the world-class centre in just eight months, a release said. The Equatorial Convention Centre's main hall is over 1,200 square meters, the largest in the Maldives. The centre also houses a number of VIP lounges, banquet halls and meeting rooms.
Keywords: SAARC meet