Economy will be top issue at 5th Americas Summit: U.S. official 2009-03-14 03:57:46   Print

    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 Friday.

    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 sustainability.

    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, he said.

    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 said.

    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

Editor: Yan
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