• By Pacific island Times News Staff

US holds second round of Compact talks with FSM, Palau


Douglas Domenech

U.S. representatives to the negotiations on new terms of the Compact of Free Association have concluded the second round of consultations with teams from both the Federated States of Micronesia and Palau.

“We are pleased that our conversations with each of the teams continue in the spirit of partnership, collaboration, and mutual respect,” said Department of the Interior Assistant Secretary Douglas W. Domenech, who represents the United States along with U.S. Department of State Ambassador Karen B. Stewart.

The U.S. and FAS teams are discussing certain expiring provisions of their respective Compact of Free Association agreements. The U.S. government team also held an informal consultation with Marshall Islands.

“Under the leadership of the Trump Administration, the special relationships with the freely associated states under the Compacts of Free Association remain strong, underscoring the United States’ longstanding commitment,” Domenech said.

Details of discussions were not currently available.

“Despite the challenges presented by the Covid-19 pandemic, we are making progress on these important conversations. This is a testament to our strong relationships and desire to achieve the best outcomes for citizens of our countries,” Stewart said.

In April, Domenech and Stewart were named co-negotiators to lead the federal government in bilateral discussions on the Compacts of Free Association with the FSM, the RMI and Palau.

In May, an initial round of consultations was held with each of the freely associated states related to the expiring provisions of the Compact of Free Association agreements, Public Law 108-188, with the RMI and the FSM and on expiring provisions of the Section 432 Review of the Compact of Free Association, Public Law 99-658, with Palau.

On Aug. 5, 2019, U.S. Department of State Secretary Michael R. Pompeo announced negotiations with the FSM, RMI, and Palau during an historic visit to Pohnpei where he met with FSM President David W. Panuelo, then-RMI President Hilda C. Heine, and Palau Vice President Raynold B. Oilouch.

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On May 21, 2019, President Donald J. Trump hosted Palau President Tommy E. Remengesau, Jr., then-RMI President Hilda C. Heine, and FSM President David W. Panuelo at the White House for an historic visit.

This was the first time that all three leaders from the freely associated states were hosted together at the White House by a United States president, demonstrating the special partnership between the United States and the FAS. Interior Secretary David Bernhardt also met with the three presidents during their visit to Washington in affirmation of the unique role and responsibilities Interior holds in these relationships.

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