Secretary Robert meets with Commander for US Pacific Fleet
Palikir, Pohnpei (FSM Information Services): February 24, 2011 - Yesterday, Secretary Lorin Robert, Department of Foreign Affairs, with Cabinet members, Secretary Francis Itimai, Secretary Maketo Robert, Deputy Secretary Jane Chigiyal, Chief of Staff Kasio Mida, and representatives of other government departments and offices, met with Admiral Patrick Walsh, Commander for the U.S. Pacific Fleet. Admiral Walsh was himself accompanied by his staff and by Ambassador Peter Prahar of the U.S. Embassy in FSM, Deputy Chief of Mission Lori Dando, and Lynn Pangelinan, Political and Military Affairs Assistant. The purpose of the meeting was to allow the FSM Government representatives to meet with the leadership of the upcoming Pacific Partnership 2011.
Secretary Robert warmly thanked Admiral Walsh for his visit to Pohnpei. "In our view, our relationship with the U.S. is strong," said Robert, "and we take great pride in it." He took the opportunity to emphasize that many FSM citizens serve in the U.S. military, and stated that the FSM also hopes to contribute to the Guam Military Build-Up by taking advantage of the economic opportunities resulting from it.
In connection with the Pacific Partnership project, Secretary Robert recalled fondly that when the USNS Mercy came to Chuuk for the 2008 Pacific Partnership, the residents were very impressed as it was likely one of the biggest ships to have ever anchored in Chuuk lagoon.
"We did have a terrific visit in Chuuk," confirmed Commander Walsh. He stated the Pacific Partnership is "an extraordinary mission [...] which brings another dimension to the role the navy can play."
"We also recognize the role that your sons and daughters play in our forces," he stressed, "it is a unique and extremely important role, as we do not have enough recruits on the mainland."
Pacific Partnership 2011 is the name given for the U.S. mission arriving onboard the USS Cleveland to the FSM, from July 2-15, to provide assistance for humanitarian and civil action projects. The mission team is comprised of members of the U.S. Navy; volunteers from World Vets and from other NGOs.
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