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US shows off its star-studded Expo 2020 pavillion in Dubai

Filed on November 18, 2020 | Last updated on November 18, 2020 at 07.26 pm

US Ambassador John Rakoltaat talks with a UAE TV presenter, during the USA Pavilion Handover Ceremony at the Dubai Expo 2020, United Arab Emirates, Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2020. AP

US Ambassador John Rakolta, right, and US State Department Counselor Ulrich Brechbuhl, touch elbows after they fixed the last piece of star on the elevation during the USA Pavilion handover ceremony at the Dubai Expo 2020. AP

US Ambassador John Rakolta talks during the USA Pavilion handover ceremony at the Dubai Expo 2020, United Arab Emirates on Nov. 18, 2020. AP

US ambassador to the UAE, John Rakolta (2nd L), attends the unveiling of the US pavilion building at the Dubai Expo 2020 site, on November 18, 2020. AFP

US ambassador to the UAE, John Rakolta (C), attends the unveiling of the US pavilion at the Dubai Expo 2020 site, on November 18, 2020. AFP

Two fog machines swirled smoke around the replica, trying to lend the impression it just landed at the Expo site in Dubai.

The US showed off a literally star-studded pavilion on Wednesday for Dubai’s upcoming Expo 2020, complete with a replica SpaceX rocket body beside it.

Two fog machines swirled smoke around the replica, trying to lend the impression it just landed at the Expo site in Dubai.

The pandemic forced organisers to delay the start of the event by a year to October 1, 2021. That extra time came in handy for countries participating in the event, particularly the US. The pavilion’s exterior appeared finished on Wednesday, but its interior remained a worksite.

John Rakolta, the US ambassador to the UAE, made a point to repeatedly praise the Emirati government for its donation. Asked if that Emirati donation would influence what the US displayed, Rakolta called the UAE “open” and “inclusive.”

“They’ve encouraged us to reach for the stars,” Rakolta said.

The 3,344 square-metre (36,000 square-foot) pavilion will include a “24-minute experience” of America with moon rocks, a Mars rover and Thomas Jefferson’s Holy Quran, Rakolta said.

“The United States is a melting pot of cultures from all over the world, and there’s always going to be tension,” Rakolta said “The strength of America is after a hard-fought election to come back together to the middle and to be able to bridge some of the differences that we have.”

Rakolta, a Republican appointed by Trump, added: “You only agree with about 80 per cent of what even your own party might have to offer.”

The pandemic also remained at the front of people’s minds as attendees all wore government-mandate face masks and hand sanitisers stood at the ready. Rakolta said the American pavilion’s construction had so far avoided seeing a worker contract the coronavirus.





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