Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Robert O. Blake, Jr. will travel to the Republic of Maldives from November 8-13 to attend the 17th South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) Summit. Assistant Secretary 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 United States at the SAARC Summit in Addu City, Republic of Maldives. 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.
The United States has enjoyed observer nation status at SAARC since 2007.