The FSM Government has communicated its consent to the appointment of Mr. Michel Jollivet as the French Ambassador-designate to the FSM, based in Suva. The Ambassador-designate will succeed Ambassador Antoine Frasseto who has taken leave of duty in anticipation of the closure of the French Embassy to the FSM in Honolulu.
The Federated States of Micronesia and the Republic of South Africa have established formal diplomatic relations on December 12, 1996. Joint Communiqués in this regard were signed on behalf of the two countries by their Permanent Representatives to the United Nations, Ambassador Resio S. Moses for the FSM and Ambassador Khiphusizi J. Jele for the Republic of South Africa. This is the first African country with which the FSM has entered into formal diplomatic relations, making it a total of 46 countries in all.
The Acting President, the Honorable Jacob Nena, expressed profound sadness and sorrow on his behalf and that of the people of the Federated States of Micronesia, to the family of the late Juan Antalig Sablan, on his untimely passing on December 7, 1996. The late Juan A. Sablan was a dedicated Micronesian leader who profiled an impressive and long political career with one being the Deputy High Commissioner of the former Trust Territory. The FSM Government was represented at the funeral by the Secretary for External Affairs, the Honorable Asterio R. Takesy.
The Department received a thank-you note from the President of the People's Republic of China, His Excellency Jiang Zemin, expressing heartfelt thanks on his behalf and that of the Chinese people for the messages of congratulations sent to him by the President of the Federated States of Micronesia, on the occasion of the forty-seventh anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China.
The Secretary of External Affairs, the Honorable Asterio R. Takesy, sent a congratulating message to Mr. Chong-ha Yoo, on his appointment as Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Korea. Secretary Takesy also affirmed his commitment to further improve the relationship and partnership between the FSM and the Republic of Korea. Minister Yoo replied by expressing gratitude and assured Secretary Takesy of the same desire to further the existing strong relations between the two countries.
The Department requested assistance from the U.S. Government through its Embassy in Kolonia on the removal or detonation of World War II ordinance recently discovered on Falalop Island in Yap State.
The Capacity 21 Program Officer, Mr. Okean Ehmes, reported to Acting President Jacob Nena (as Chairman of the Sustainable Development Commission) three major activities undertaken successively in November 1996; such as, a Loan Officers' Workshop, the Yap Business Forum Meeting and a Kosrae Chip-In Conference. The meetings, which attracted participants from the Development Banks in the region as well as environment-related agencies in the respective states, were aimed to sensitize the business community, the governments and the local people to the need to develop the environment in a sustainable way.
The FSM Embassy in Washington D.C. participated in the Second Annual Foreign Embassy Trade and Cultural Exhibition, held at the Washington D.C. Convention Center in the first week of December under the sponsorship of Dun and Bradstreet Information Services. The exhibition is an annual event held in various cities in the U.S. with costs borne by the sponsor, to promote and develop investment, trade and tourism opportunities for participating countries' embassies. "Embassies Online," where potential investors could access information on the countries has also been established through this program.
The FSM Consulate General in Honolulu provided various consular services to FSM citizens residing or visiting Hawaii, on matters such as immigration, school, medical referral, and employment. The Consulate General also attended various official functions in Hawaii.
The FSM Ambassador to Fiji, His Excellency Alik Alik, attended the Forum Officials Committee Meeting held in early December at the Forum Secretariat. The purpose of the meeting was to consider and approve the Secretariat's 1997 budget and work programs.
The FSM Embassy in Fiji coordinated various assistance from the Forum Secretariat relating to the provision and availability of consultancy services by mid-January in areas of import management, shipping and inventory management. The Secretariat is also poised to assist interested Forum member countries in preparing their Investment Policy Statement to be reported to the upcoming Economic Ministers Meeting, as agreed during the 27th South Pacific Forum in Majuro.
The FSM Ambassador to Fiji chaired the SOPAC Sub-committee meeting which briefed SOPAC members on a report by the Sub-committee on SOPAC's Future Role and Direction. The Sub-committee was established by the SOPAC Governing Council with the mandate to review the overall performance of the organizational reform and redirection.
The Department has been informed by the USDOI Inspector general regarding overdue single audit reports from the FSM states. Appropriate departments and agencies of the National Government have been asked to address the problem, which are likely to affect funding eligibility and credibility of the respective State Governments.
The Department assisted in requesting diplomatic clearance for an Australian RAAF flight entering FSM airspace for marine surveillance purposes. The Australian and New Zealand Governments have been providing surveillance assistance to the FSM over its Exclusive Economic Zone over the years.
Mr. Louis Harris, an FSM citizen, has been awarded the 1997 Monbusho Scholarship offered by the Government of Japan. Mr. Harris is the only recipient of the scholarship for a three-year program in Civil Engineering, expected to commence in April 1997 in Osaka, Japan.
The FSM Government has been invited by the U.N. Conference on Trade and Development to attend the Commission on Enterprise, Business Facilitation and Development, First Session, as observer, scheduled to be held in Geneva from January 20-24, 1997.
The FSM Government and the Government of the People's Republic of China have reached agreement on a feasibility study mission to the FSM to establish a pilot farm project in Pohnpei. Funding for the project is through a grant from the Government of the People's Republic of China.