FSM and US signs Compact amendments package
POHNPEI, Palikir (FSM Information Service): May 14, 2003 - Representatives of the Federated States of Micronesia and the United States signed a series of amendments to the Compact of Free Association in a ceremony held today in the President's Conference room at Palikir.
The ceremony was opened with brief remarks by the Honorable Lorin Robert, Acting Secretary of Foreign Affairs. H.E. Ambassador Jesse B. Marehalau of the FSM and H.E. Ambassador Larry Dinger of the US then proceeded to sign the Compact amendments and subsidiary agreements.
In attendance were Members of Congress, Ambassadors, Consul-Generals, JCN Members and staff, and other dignitaries from the FSM and US. The Honorable Andon Amaraich, Chief Justice of the FSM Supreme Court, was also present. Justice Amaraich served as the Chief Negotiator during the original Compact negotiations.
In his brief statement, Ambassador Marehalau noted that the signing represented a milestone in Micronesian history, and that it signaled a new era in relations between the US and the FSM. He thanked those involved in the process on both sides, and pledged the FSM's commitment to work together to present the documents for approval by constitutional processes of both nations.
Ambassador Marehalau stated that both sides should be proud of the signed documents, but noted that there were several areas of concern remaining. The FSM hopes these concerns will be subject to favorable US Congressional consideration. Specifically, he mentioned the issues of adequacy of the grant amounts and trust fund contributions, the inflation adjustment mechanism, and the discontinuation of FEMA disaster assistance. The Ambassador also stated the FSM's concern over the continuation of US federal programs under the new agreement.
Ambassador Dinger also recognized the historic nature of the signing, and stated that the amended documents reflect the many successes and occasional failures on the part of both sides during the past seventeen years. He stated his hope that the Compact as amended, would build upon the very close relationship enjoyed by the two nations and provide a bright future for Micronesia.
The meeting concluded with a toast by JCN Chairman Gerson Jackson and the US Ambassador. The signed documents will now be transmitted for consideration under the approval process of each nation.
For further information on this release, please contact:
FSM Office of the President Public Information: Press, Radio, Video P.O Box 34 Palikir Station, Pohnpei, FM 96941 Tel.: (691) 320-2548/2092 Fax.: (691) 320-4356 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org http://www.fsmpio.fm/