President Emanuel Mori
Federated States of Micronesia
American Jewish Committee
September 25, 2007
Mr. David Harris --
Members of the American Jewish Committee --
And Friends: Americans, Israelis, and Micronesians --
I am happy to join you in what has become an annual event on the margins of the session of the UNGA. It is fitting for the American Jewish Committee and the Federated States of Micronesia to come together to reaffirm the friendship between our peoples. We in the Federated States of Micronesia feel a special affinity with the AJC, given our shared fundamental values that are deeply rooted in the Judeo-Christian tradition.
We also come together because of another common denominator - namely, our shared interest in the security and sovereignty of the State of Israel. Let there be no doubt about the policy of my country. Simply put, we support the right of Israel to exist in peace and dignity, and for its sovereign will as a state to be fully recognized and treated with respect.
Our voting record here at the United Nations on resolutions condemning the State of Israel reflects the resolve of our policy. We are of course proud of that record.
We are further pleased to work closely with representatives of the Israeli government in various other fora, including the last two diplomatic conferences in Geneva focusing on the admission of Israel as a full member of the International Red Cross and the declaration of the Red Crystal as the Third Emblem for use by the Magen David Adom and other national chapters of the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies that wish to do so.
I do would like to express our sincere appreciation to the American Jewish Committee - not only for organizing and inviting us to this meeting, but also for its assistance to the Micronesian people, especially the people of Chuuk, in their times of need. We are grateful to the AJC for its grassroots humanitarian assistance and for serving as an informal link between our peoples here in America, in Micronesia, and in Israel. We look to you for guidance as to how we may further promote and strengthen the ties between our peoples.
Having assumed the office of President just four months ago, I would like to highlight some of the important issues that my country is facing, realizing that nation-building remains the ultimate objective for my government. I would like to invite your guidance in the following areas -
FIRST, as you know, the FSM has a unique relationship with the United States that is defined and formalized in the Compact of Free Association. The treaty outlines various areas of cooperation - defense and security, immigration and law enforcement, economic assistance including federal programs and technical assistance, among others. The economic assistance arrangements of the Amended Compact have a term-limit of twenty years.
The legislation by the US Congress that facilitated the enactment of the treaty provides that the Amended Compact be reviewed every after five years to determine areas that may need adjustment. There are certain areas of the Compact that we do would like to see adjusted.
While my government is at the stage of finalizing its decision as to the most effective way for us to approach the Review, we would be grateful for any support that the American Jewish Committee can extend to us as we begin to interact with various US agencies including the Departments of State, Interior, Health & Human Services, possibly Homeland Security, and the US Congress itself.
SECOND, we would welcome technical expertise in the field of renewable energy, recognizing the skyrocketing price of fossil fuel and the risks of relying so heavily on that source of energy. Our development efforts in the FSM are adversely impacted by the over-reliance on costly fossil fuel. Renewable energy would enhance the quality of life for our people and contribute to our socio-economic progress.
THIRD, in this day and age of globalization, the many islands of the Federated States of Micronesia scattered in a very vast area of the central Pacific Ocean need to be connected to the outside world in a way that is efficient and affordable. With our small population scattered on so many small islands, we need advanced communication and information technologies, or ICTs.
In this connection, I am pleased to note that the FSM is at the final stages of preparation to be connected to a fiber optic cable that is laid by the US Defense Department. We are committed to bringing broadband connectivity and greater bandwidth to the FSM. We are pinning high hopes on the fiber optic cable to contribute to the achievement of our socio-economic priorities.
FOURTH, with a rapidly growing population and limited arable land, it may not be long before food security becomes an acute concern throughout the Federated States of Micronesia. We need technical expertise and sharing of good practices, whether from America or from Israel, to improve our farming methods and crop production for our own domestic consumption first and foremost.
FIFTH, it has become increasingly clear for us the present leaders of the FSM to look beyond twenty years from now - that our collective moral responsibility is to put into place, with the collaboration and support of our special friends, a "safety net" for our future generations. In light of projected uncertainty about, if not decrease in, financial resources available to the government, should we be blamed for taking the necessary initiative to think along the lines of creating a trust fund, for instance? It would be worthwhile to further explore the idea of a special trust fund or other type of "safety net" that would further strengthen the ties between our peoples.
SIXTH and finally, ensuring adequate supply of safe and drinkable water is critical, especially in the rural areas and on the remote and flat islands in the FSM. The geographical configuration of the country is such that many of the islands are flat and far from the major islands with reliable supply of safe drinkable water. On such remote islands and rural areas, rain water is not a reliable source; nor can it always be certain whether well water is sanitary. As we all know, water is critical to human sustenance. In other parts of the world, but not in the Federated States of Micronesia, it is often taken for granted.
Let me conclude here by thanking you again for hosting this meeting and for the opportunity to renew our shared interests and ties. I encourage continued dialogue on issues that would further cultivate and strengthen the special relations between our people. Perhaps one way to strengthening our interests is to have periodic visits by leaders of the AJC to our Micronesian islands. Thank you.