US to open embassy in Maldives, says Pompeo


Washington, Oct 29 (IANS): US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has confirmed the establishment of an American embassy in the Maldives, in a first since Washington and the island nation initiated diplomatic ties in 1966.

Until now, the US has maintained relations with the Maldives through the American Ambassador to Sri Lanka, reports The Hill news website.

Pompeo made the announcement on Wednesday in the Maldives, a part of his five-day Asia trip, which also took him to India, Sri Lanka, Indonesia and Vietnam.

The move reflects "the continued growth of the US-Maldivesr relationship and underscoring the US' unshakeable commitment to Maldives and the Indo-Pacific region", the Voice of America quoted Pompeo as saying in a statement after his meetings with Maldivian President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih and Foreign Minister Abdulla Shahid.

Pomepo's announcement comes after the two countries signed a defence agreement on September 10 to "deepen engagement and cooperation" in the peace and security of the Indian Ocean, according to the State Department.

The US has also provided $2 million in assistance to the Maldives for Covid-19 recovery efforts.

  

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