Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asian Affairs Michael S. Owen will represent the United States at “Maldives Donor Conference 2010,” March 28-29, in Maldives.
The United States has a long-standing friendship with the Republic of Maldives. This partnership has strengthened since Maldives’s democratic presidential election in 2008. The United States congratulates the Maldives on the progress it has made in its democratic transition and commends the substantial reforms undertaken by the government to strengthen democratic institutions and promote economic growth and social development. The United States is encouraged by the steps the Government of the Republic of Maldives has taken with the International Monetary Fund, World Bank and Asian Development Bank, and other international donors and financial institutions to stabilize 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.
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. We intend to work closely with Congress to realize a generous assistance package, currently totaling $4.6 million, with a particular focus on climate change adaptation assistance.
The United States is determined to strengthen our economic relationship with Maldives. Thanks to the government’s commitment to continue to improve workers’ rights, the United States reinstated Maldives in December 2009 to the Generalized 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.
These and other measures underscore our commitment not only to assisting, but to building a foundation for, and strengthening over the long term, our partnership with Maldives.