Congress of the Federated States of Micronesia

Rep. Dianne Watson Welcome

PALIKIR, Pohnpei (FSM Congress): August 6, 2002 - The FSM Congress on August 5, hosted a dinner reception honoring United States Congresswoman Dianne Watson at the Nantelik Restaurant.

Representative Dianne Watson is a member of the U.S. House International Relations Committee and the former U.S. Ambassador to the FSM during President Bill Clinton's administration. She and her three staff were visiting the FSM to meet with representatives of the FSM, Pohnpei State, U.S. agencies and others regarding the status of the current negotiations between the U.S. and the FSM. She and some U.S. court officials along with other court officials from FSM National and State Supreme courts were introduced during the reception.

Vice Speaker Claude Phillip delivered the welcoming statement. The following is the statement in full text:

"Tonight we gather to welcome back an old friend. She is too young for that description - rather, let me say, a "dear" friend, because that is what she is to us. The Honorable Dianne Watson, as you all know, was formerly, United States Ambassador to the FSM and now a Member of the U.S. House of Representatives. Welcome, Representative Watson! It's really nice to see you again.

We also want to welcome Army Major Susan Riopel, who is accompanying Representative Watson. I understand, Major Riopel, that this is your first visit to the FSM. I hope you're enjoying your visit and that this visit won't be your last visit to our country.

As many of you know, Representative Watson and her staff are here in Pohnpei to meet with representatives of the FSM, Pohnpei State, U.S. agencies, and others about the status of current negotiations between the U.S. and the FSM on the renewal of the Compact of Free association, and to view once again the progress being made by our people with the generous assistance provided by the United States since the beginning of the Compact.

We're glad you're here, Representative Watson, and hope that your meetings have been and will be positive and informative. I think you'll agree that much has been accomplished since our tiny islands joind together to become one country. I'm sure you will also agree that much remains to be done. With your help, and that of the United States Government, I know we will accomplish much more, and let me say this is a promise.

Here in the FSM, we know that Dianne Watson is a true friend. We are grateful that she is a Member of the U.S. Houise Representatives and particularly, a member of the House International Relations Committee. As the saying goes, "it's always nice to have friends in high places," and Dianne Watson is one of those friends.

By the way, Representative Watson, just so you know, we are all praying for you re-election in November. I'm confident the good people of the 32nd Congressional District in Los Angeles know "a good thing" when they see it and believe me, Dianne Watson is definitely "a good thing" for California, for the 32nd Congressional District, for the U.S. AND for the FSM.

Representative Watson, we're happy you've come "home" to visit and hope that you will come back again. We miss your energy, your enthusiasm, your wisdom and your guidance. We know of your love for our islands and know that you will pass the massage on to your friends and colleagues in Washington that the FSM is a true friend of the United States.

We are grateful for the very generous assistance that has been provided to us by the U.S. for the past fifteen years, and we are grateful for the constant friendship the U.S. and its people have shown us. Due in large part to people like you, who have come to know us and our ways what we like to call "the island way" has true meaning, and tonight this reception is just a small part of our island way. We hope you will relax, enjoy talking with old friends, and have a good time.

In the FSM, we are proud of our close association with the United States and the American people. We look forward to a continuing close relationship for many years to come. And for tonight, relax and enjoy. This is, after all, Micronesia! Welcome, Representative Watson, welcome, Major Riopel, and welcome to all of you. Thank you"

Rep. Dianne Watson made her remarks after Vice Speaker Phillip and explained how she became a member of the International Relations Committee and what she intended to do when the compact between the FSM and U.S. comes to Congress. She assured the officials and the people at the reception that she will try her best in doing what she thinks good for both the two nations. She believes both nations will be satisfied with the end result of the compact renegotiations and wished that the signed agreement will be forwarded to Congress before the October session.

For further information on this release, please contact:

Congress of the Federated States of Micronesia
Public Information Office
P.O Box PS-3
Palikir Station, Pohnpei, FM 96941
Tel.: (691) 320-2324/2325
Fax.: (691) 320-5122