FSM postpones repatriation of stranded citizens

FSM President David Panuelo

Palikir, Pohnpei— Federated States of Micronesia President David Panuelo has indefinitely postponed the government's planned Dec. 5 repatriation of stranded Micronesians and diplomats, whoa re currently in a pre-quarantine facility on Guam.

At the same time, Panuelo formalized his government's request for the United States to forego this year’s Operation Christmas Drop.

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Both decisions were made due to ongoing concerns regarding the Covid-19 pandemic.

After receiving a briefing on the mechanics and technical components of the repatriation, Panuelo learned that there are potential gaps in the effort to make an airtight process.

“I have every confidence with our national government’s preparedness to repatriate our citizens stranded abroad,” Panuelo said in a statement. “But upon multiple meetings with the Pohnpei State Executive and Legislative leadership and staff, and technical follow-ups with our health staff, it is clear that certain scenarios, however unlikely they are to occur, could threaten the safety of our citizens.”