Amata hails Palau, RMI MOU signings, urges details to be shared with Congress
News Release from office of Rep Aumua Amata, R-AS Jan 17, 2023
Washington, D.C. – Congresswoman Uifa’atali Amata Coleman Radewagen (R-AS) expressed her pleasure that U.S. negotiators last week reached initial understanding with the governments of the republics of Palau and the Marshall Islands on general financial terms to extend the Compacts of Free Association for the next 20 years.
"Importantly," said the Congresswoman, who is co-chairman of the Congressional Pacific Islands Caucus, "these MOUs are not final commitments, but instead are milestones marking forward movement, in order to sustain momentum in negotiations that were on diplomatic life-support a year ago. Along with my colleagues in Congress, there will be many questions I will have about what to expect as terms are worked out leading to final agreements."
Noting that the MOUs will provide Congress with a window into the understandings reached that will inform the work Congress will need to do between now and October, when the financial provisions of the Compacts are set to expire, Amata went on to say that, "if the Administration expects the Compact renewal package to be approved by that time, I would urge the State Department to provide the MOUs to the leadership of the committees with jurisdiction over Compact affairs without further delay."
The conclusion of these preliminary agreements comes at a time when the Congresswoman with the presidents and key leaders of the three Freely Associated States in connection with her travel to the region for the inauguration of new Northern Marianas Governor Arnold I. Palacios, representing the House Natural Resources Committee at the request of incoming Chairman Bruce Westerman. With a large ex-patriate Marshallese community in an Arkansas congressional district adjacent to his, he brings a familiarity with Micronesia to his new position.
Following the Palacios inauguration, where she had a chance to visit with Republic of Palau President Surangel Whipps, Jr. and Guam Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero, the Congresswoman returned to the U.S. mainland on United Airlines "Island Hopper" in order to visit with Chuuk Governor Alexander Narruhn, FSM President David Panuelo and RMI President Davud Kabua, along with other senior government leaders on their home islands. "It was important for me to gain a perspective from these leaders that I could take back to Washington," said the Congresswoman, who last week also was named co-chairman of the Congressional Western Caucus. "I welcomed the chance to visit with FAS Heads of State and their negotiators, who provided updates on the Compacts, and was pleased to learn of their satisfaction with Ambassador Joseph Yun."
"The reports I was hearing about recent progress in the Compact negotiations were most encouraging, and consistent with the steady improvement we have been monitoring in these crucially strategic negotiations," she said. The Congresswoman added, "There has been a long overdue trend in more productive negotiations since all parties moved off previous positions and began to resolve issues that had impeded agreement on core issues over the past three years."
"As I had hoped," continued the Samoan lawmaker, "recent consultations produced general understandings of the goals and intentions of the parties regarding the range of funding levels which, if approved by Congress and ratified by the FAS national legislatures, would sustain the success of the free association alliance. I welcome the Los Angeles MOUs as a sign of the progress that can be made."
"The FSM is completing its internal deliberations on the same issues addressed in the MOUs with RMI and Palau, and I was pleased to receive a detailed briefing on outstanding issues from FSM Chief Negotiator Leo Falcam, Jr. during my stop in Pohnpei. I understand the U.S. and FSM are making steady progress as well, so Congress can work on all three Compact renewal agreements in the critical months ahead."
"The more open communication there is about Compact renewal between the Administration and Congress now, the more productive the oversight hearing can be on the President's budget and legislative proposals to implement the Compact renewal agreements that need to be expedited in order to take effect before expiration of current core Compact provisions that sustain our strategic alliance at the end of this fiscal year."
Consistent with the Department of Interior's shared role with State Department in managing Compact funding as well as serving as the U.S. government's policy focal point for U.S. flag territories, Amata was happy that Interior Assistant Secretary Carmen Cantor was present for the signing ceremony with Yun, RMI Foreign Minister and Chief Negotiator Kitlang Kabua and Palau Foreign Minister and Chief Negotiator Kaleb Udui.
Jan 14, 2023: Amata Meets with Top Leaders During Micronesia Trip
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The United States of America and the Republic of the Marshall Islands Sign Memorandum of Understanding
News Release from US State Department, Jan 12, 2023
Today, the Government of the United States of America and the Government of the Republic of the Marshall Islands signed a Memorandum of Understanding affirming our close and continuing partnership and reflecting our shared understanding reached on levels and types of future U.S. assistance to be requested for the Republic of the Marshall Islands.
Special Presidential Envoy for Compact Negotiations Joseph Yun signed the Memorandum for the United States and Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Kitlang Kabua signed for the Republic of the Marshall Islands.
Ambassador Gerald Zackios of the Republic of the Marshall Islands and Assistant Secretary of Insular and International Affairs Carmen G. Cantor, U.S. Department of the Interior attended the signing in Los Angeles.
The Memorandum of Understanding was signed as part of the Compact of Free Association negotiations and confirms the shared desire to strengthen the special partnership between our nations.
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The United States of America and the Republic of Palau Sign Memorandum of Understanding
News Release from US State Department, Jan 10, 2023
Today, the Government of the United States of America and the Government of the Republic of Palau signed a Memorandum of Understanding affirming our close and continuing partnership and reflecting our consensus reached on levels and kinds of future U.S. assistance to be requested for Palau’s economic development.
Special Presidential Envoy for Compact Negotiations Joseph Yun signed the Memorandum for the United States and Minister of Finance Kaleb Udui, Jr. signed for the Republic of Palau.
President Surangel Whipps, Jr. of the Republic of Palau, Senator Rukebai Kikuo Inabo and Delegate Mengkur Rechelulk from Palau’s Congress, Ambassador Hersey Kyota of the Republic of Palau, and Assistant Secretary for Insular and International Affairs Carmen G. Cantor, U.S. Department of the Interior attended the signing in Los Angeles.
The Memorandum of Understanding was signed as part of ongoing Compact related negotiations and confirms our shared vision for a strengthened and lasting partnership that will continue to benefit both nations and the entire Pacific region.
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