Government of the Federated States of Micronesia

President Nena & his Entourage Visit the State of Yap

PALIKIR, Pohnpei (FSM Information Service): June 29, 1998 - FSM President Jacob Nena and his delegation undertook a four-day State Visit to the State of Yap, 24 to the 28th of this month.

This is the first state visit to Yap by Nena since he became President.

The visit was to meet with Yap State Leadership on issues vital to the political and economic development of the state.

Among the crowd at the airport to receive and welcome the President and his entourage to Yap include an honor guard, Chief Andrew Ruepong, Chairman of the Council of Pilung; Chief Ignathio Hapthey, Chairman of the Council of Tamol; Governor of Yap, Vincent Figir; Speaker of Yap State Legislature, Robert Ruecho; Lt. Governor, Matthias Kuor; Chairman of Yap State Delegation to the FSM Congress, Isaac Figir; Floor Leader of the FSM Congress, Joseph Urusemal, state cabinet members and members of the State Legislature and other officials.

The President and his entourage met with the Yap State Leadership at the Yap State Legislature Chamber in a formal session.

Chief Ruepong in his welcoming address said that the traditional leaders, the government and people of Yap join him in expressing their deep sense of gratitude to the President and his delegation for honoring Yap by the President's important visit.

He went on to say that the President has contributed greatly to the well being of the state, explaining the recent effort by the President to assist the state in dealing with the impact of the recent drought caused by the El Nino. "The visit is important because it comes at a time of great hardship for our people, as the drought has taken its toll on our islands [and] your visit gives us the opportunity to express our gratitude for your prompt efforts in expediting the assistance of FEMA to our islands," he said.

He added, "The people of Yap thank you, Mr. President, because your visit gives us hope and stronger sense of unity."

Chief Ruepong ended his address by telling the President that he is honored to formally welcome the President and his official party to the State of Yap and he hope that the President's brief stay will be enjoyable and informative.

Governor Figir joined Chief Ruepong in welcoming the President and his delegation and started to engaged the leaders into discussions by raising several issues and concerns of the State of Yap to the President and his delegation.

The major issued of concern by the state were:

  1. The foreign aid request to the government of Japan through the national government, for which Yap has submitted a request for Road Paving and Improvement Project because Yap was advised that in accordance with the rotation of this grant aid among the FSM state this year is Yaps' turn for the Japan Grant Aid.

    Secretary of the Department of FSM Foreign Affairs Epel Ilon said that the request for Yap Road Project was formally submitted February to the government of Japan, but the hold up is the Kosrae project, which the FSM and Japan need to sign an Exchange of Notes on before proceeding with another project.

    Ilon added, "There is no mistake it is Yap States' turn for the Japanese grant after Kosrae and the Japanese know this," but the Exchange of Notes for Kosrae project has to be executed first.

  2. The future of the Micronesian Maritime Fisheries Academy and the Fisheries Training Center under Japanese government aid assistance, to which Governor Figir pointed to the need for a decision by the FSM National Government. The issue or question is on the reopening of the MMFA in Yap versus relocating it to COM-FSM in Pohnpei.

    The President said that if the government of Yap State can help by addressing the land lease issue then the decision of the location should not be a problem nor an issue. In response, Governor Figir said that once the FSM has made its' decision to continue the MMFA in Yap, the government of Yap would guarantee that it will take on an active roll in the negotiations to secure the land.

  3. The obligation by the United States Government over the reconstruction of Yap International Airport, which was built under the supervision of the OICC and the US Navy. The airport in its deteriorated condition, needs immediate reconstruction. Yap State Government is now using funds earmarked for the state projects for its airport reconstruction project which is now underway. Therefore, the state needs substitute funding for these other projects.

  4. The other issue is the request by Yap for one of the FSM Patrol boats to be stationed and operated out of Yap, which the President noted. The Governor explained that stationing one of the patrol boats in Yap will not only helped the surveillance of the western part of the nation, but it will also provide other needed services to the state such as emergencies in the state's outer islands.

    President at breakfast the next morning told the Governor that they are looking into it and Secretary Ilon added that an assessment will be undertaken with the assistance of Australia on the effective operation of these patrol boats.

After the formal session, a traditional dance was performed in honor of the President and his delegation.

At the dinner reception hosted at the Marina Restaurant for the President and his delegation, Speaker Ruecho made a brief statement on behalf of the leaders of Yap, expressing gratitude to the President for his visit.

The President in response also expressed his gratitude for the generosity of the leaders and expressed his commitment to carrying forth the decisions made during this visit and pointed to the need to do all that they can together for the future of the nation.

The President and his delegation were taken on a tour of the MMFA Campus, the Kingtex Garment Factory and the airport and also to Kaday village where they were honored with a dance and dinner.

At Kaday village, Yap state Chief Justice Constantine Yinug spoke on behalf of the village and presented a gift of locally made coconut fiber (twine) to the President as a token of appreciation and deep felling of honor of the President's visit to the village.

He explained that the twine plays an important role in Yapese lives, in that they use it for tying or lashing things together as in the construction and maintenance of [houses], among other things, adding "this rope(twine) stands to signify the bonds of cooperation and understanding between the national and the state governments. This rope should also be long enough to tie together all the decisions reached or yet to be reached, during this trip between you and our state leaders ..."

The President and part of his delegation visited Woleai Friday morning where they toured the island and met with local leaders and came to Ulithi where they spent a night. They were taken to the village in Ulithi for a feast and local dancing entertainment.

On both Woleai and Ulithi, the local leaders and people expressed their concerns and asked what is going to happen after 2001 and beyond, among other issues. Several of the issues raised were the conditions of the runways on Woleai, Fais and Ulithi; the need for a replacement vessel for aging Micro Spirit, concerns about the protection of intellectual properties among others.

Presdient's Entourage include Senator Resio Moses, Secretaries of the Departments of Foreign Affairs Epel Ilon; Economic Affairs, Sebastian Anefal; Transportation, Communication and Infrastructure, Lukner Weilbacher; Finance and Administration, John Ehsa; and Health Education and Social Affairs representative, Oliver Joseph; Immigration and Labor, Mohner Esiel; and from the President's Office/Information, Elieser Rospel.

The President and his entourage returned to Pohnpei on Sunday.

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