Government of the Federated States of Micronesia

President Mori holds public forum with FSM citizens in Honolulu

Honolulu, Hawai'i (FSM Information Services): November 14, 2011 - President Manny Mori held a public forum with FSM citizens in Honolulu to further discuss issues directly relating to the Compact of Free Association between the FSM and the United States which seems to have attracted controversial attention from some members of US Congress, concern citizens, and some leaders from certain jurisdictions of the United States.

Approximately 200 FSM citizens residing in Honolulu took advantage of the opportunity to dialogue with the President on issues concerning eligibility to medical and social services, employment and education.

In addressing the citizens, President Mori spoke of the special relationship between the United States and the FSM as being warm, strong and fundamentally complex and beneficial to both countries.

Several times at the meeting, the President strongly urged FSM citizens in the State of Hawaii to behave as responsible "guests" by following regulations and showing respect to the culture of the place.

President Mori also informed the people that the FSM Government has solicited the service of two professional researchers to conduct a study in the next four months to provide a better understanding on the net impact of FSM citizens at affected US jurisdictions and asked that people be truthful and serious if selected in the study. In particular, the study should show FSM citizens' contributions to their place of residence.

Other questions were raised regarding events and activities at home, including the FSM Congressional Resolution calling for the President to work on terminating the Compact by 2018.

In responding to questions relating to the resolution, the President said that the resolution is an expression of current frustrations over the problematic implementation of the Compact but expressed strong doubt that Congress would adopt the resolution. Moreover, the President stressed that leaders would not work toward terminating the Compact at any point in the future without the expressed will of the people. Although it is clear he will no longer be the President by 2018, President Mori revealed that he prefers strengthening processes and working out differences that create dissatisfaction over the compact rather than working on terminating it in the manner called for by the resolution.

The President as well as Foreign Affairs Secretary, Mr. Lorin Robert also alluded to the defense aspect of the Compact which allows for FSM citizens to serve in the US Armed Forces and gives the US exclusive defense role in the FSM, among others. This arrangement is understood as the door way that allows for FSM citizens to part take in regional defense operations and other endeavors for global peace and security which are dear not only to the United States but also to our own country and other peace-loving countries.

Immigration issues were highlighted as some people worry that entry into places in the U.S. such as the State of Hawaii and Guam would be taken away from FSM citizens in response to compact impact. It was pointed out that provisions of the compact between FSM and the U.S. would remain in effect until the compact itself is changed or terminated by both parties.

The President said the FSM is taking proactive ways in addressing compact impact in the affected U.S. jurisdiction, thus the needed study. He said appropriate compensation should be rendered the affected places where warranted to move forward in the right manner.

President Mori also said the FSM has been working on strengthening implementation of the compact at home and strive to further improve its social and economic performance to achieve growth in the medium to long term. This way, some of the FSM citizens abroad could consider returning home as a reasonable option. Without this, out migration would continue without control.

Those who spoke out at the forum expressed their gratitude for such meeting, including Deacon Timothy Tolennoa of Kosrae , Ms. Joleen Marmar from Yap, Mr. Taka Alfons from Pohnpei, and Mrs. Presenta Sablan Shirai who represented the Chuukese.

Along with Secretary Robert, Chief of Staff Kasio Mida and Charge d'Affairs to Washington D.C., Mr. James Naich, accompanied the President to the forum with logistical assistance and planning from Acting Counsel General to Honolulu, Mr. Henry Shrew and his staff.

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