Senior US official to attend Maldives Donor Conference

Last Updated: Saturday, March 27, 2010 - 16:38

Washington: Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asian Affairs Michael S Owen will represent the United States at ‘Maldives Donor Conference 2010’, to be held in the archipelago on March 28 and 29.

The announcement was made on Friday.

The US has a long-standing friendship with Maldives, Owen said which has strengthened since the latter held a democratic Presidential Election in 2008.

Congratulating Maldives on the progress made in democratic transition, the US commended the reforms undertaken by the government to strengthen democratic institutions and promote economic growth and social development.

The State Department said it is encouraged by the steps taken by Maldives has taken with the International Monetary Fund, World Bank and Asian Development Bank and other financial institutions to stabilise its public finances.

"We are confident that under the leadership of President Nasheed and the support of the international community, Maldives will meet the ambitious social and economic development targets it has set for itself," a statement said.

The United States looks forward to the opportunity to continue to partner with Maldives to address crucial challenges, such as the social, environmental and economic impact of climate change, customs and border security, and strengthening democratic institutions, it said.

"We intend to work closely with Congress to realise a generous assistance package, currently totalling USD 4.6 million, with a particular focus on climate change adaptation assistance," Owen said.

The US is determined to strengthen economic relationship with Maldives, he added.

"Thanks to the government’s commitment to continue to improve workers’ rights, the US reinstated Maldives in December 2009 to the Generalised System of Preferences, making
Maldives eligible to export nearly 3,500 products to the United States duty-free.”

Earlier this month, the United States and Maldives signed an Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) bilateral agreement.

The availability of OPIC products and services will further support our joint efforts to boost trade and investment," the statement said.

PTI

First Published: Saturday, March 27, 2010 - 16:38

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