WASHINGTON, March 13 (Xinhua) -- The top issue at the
fifth Summit of the Americas in April will be the current economic crisis, a
senior U.S. diplomat said.
"We have to protect the social gains we have made in
the past decade in the western hemisphere," U.S. Assistant Secretary of State
Thomas Shannon said in a statement posted on the State Department's website on
The official, who oversees Western Hemisphere
affairs, said the broad agenda of the 34-nation summit, which is being held
April 17-19 in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, will discuss other issues
including promoting human prosperity, energy security and environmental
But the current economic crisis and access to
increased credit and lending from multilateral banks, subregional banks and
international development banks will be major topics of the three-day meeting,
U.S. President Barack Obama, who will be making his
first appearance at the Summit of the Americas for the first time, will bring
"an attitude of mutual respect and a genuine desire for engagement," Shannon
Meanwhile, the White House confirmed on Friday that
Obama will attend the summit.
The summit of Americas refers to a series of summits
bringing together the countries of the Americas for discussion of a variety of
issues and they are organized by a number of multilateral bodies led by the
Organization of the Americas (OAS).
To date there have been four summits of the Americas,
two special summits of the Americas, and a number of ministerial-level summits
held since 1994, when the Clinton administration hosted the first regional
leaders' meeting in Miami, Fla.
Special Report: Global Financial Crisis