Government of the Federated States of Micronesia

Former Ambassador returns to FSM as US Congresswoman

PALIKIR, Pohnpei (FSM Information Service): August 14, 2002 - A year after resigning from her post as the United States Ambassador to the Federated States of Micronesia, Diane E. Watson returned as a visiting U.S. Congresswoman.

Congresswoman Watson is a member of the U.S. Congress House of Representative and sits on the House International Relations Committee. Her visit to FSM examines the progress of the current negotiations between the U.S. and FSM on the renewal of the Compact of Free Association. In addition, she also evaluated the efficacy of assistance provided to the FSM since the initiation of the Compact.

Congresswoman Watson and her delegation had a busy five-day schedule in Pohnpei where in addition to meeting with State officials, she met with the various U.S. agencies in Pohnpei: USDA Rural Development, USDA Natural Resources and Conservation, Peace Corps Micronesia and the Civic Action Team.

The Congresswoman wrapped up her visit to Pohnpei with meetings with key officials from the FSM National Government where discussions centered on national concern of the FSM and issues of mutual concern to the two countries.

President Leo A. Falcam, hosted a dinner reception at Cliff Rainbow Hotel on August 6, in honor of Congresswoman Watson and her delegation. Officials from the three branches of the National Government were in attendance, along with a good turn-out from the local community and U.S. Agencies in Pohnpei.

Senator Peter M. Christian preceded the reception with opening remarks that welcomed the former Ambassador "back home" to Pohnpei. He expressed the collective gratitude of the people and the government of the FSM for her return and visit as a member of the U.S. Congress.

According to Senator Christian, her visit to the FSM within a year of her election to the US Congress is a remarkable feat for new members of any Legislative Body. Therefore, the visit itself holds great significance to both nations, said Senator Christian.

He noted that the FSM would look to the Congresswoman for "support and guidance" during the ongoing process to complete the renegotiations for the Compact of Free Association.

In a statement similar to Senator Christian's, Congresswoman Watson said her visit to the FSM is to gather information on the issues and concerns of the General Accounting Office (GAO) so that an appropriate and accurate response would be given to the GAO. Should the Bill appear before her Committee, "we would have first-hand information."

Congresswoman Watson reiterated the need for both nations to work together to reach the mission of the Compact renegotiations, "we should negotiate in a way to keep an eye on the ultimate goal: sovereign, independent nations in the Pacific. Working together, we can arrive at our goal."

The Congresswoman made reference to the two Freely Associated States of the FSM and the Republic of the Marshall Islands, that both are in their final stages of renegotiating extension of their Compact of Free Association with the U.S.

She urged the FSM to meet the U.S. indicated deadline so that the Bill on the Compact of Free Association could be heard in the upcoming U.S. Congress Session in October 2002.

Congresswoman Watson and her delegation's Pacific visit began in the Marshalls, followed by the 5-day visit to Pohnpei and continues to Guam and Japan before their return to the U.S.

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