Government of the Federated States of Micronesia

Maritime Security Cooperation Talks between FSM and Australia

Palikir, Pohnpei (FSM Department of Foreign Affairs): December 9, 2009 - The tenth bilateral Maritime Security Cooperation Talks between the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) and Australia took place today in Palikir. The Talks, which are conducted annually between the two countries, are aimed at deepening the bilateral security relationship and provide an opportunity to exchange views on a range of shared security challenges affecting the region.

The FSM Secretary for Foreign Affairs, Hon. Lorin S. Robert, expressed his deep appreciation to Australia for its enduring commitment to supporting FSM's maritime surveillance capacity.

He said "Australia's longstanding support to FSM's Police Maritime Wing continues to provide it with a credible and effective maritime surveillance capability that is helping protect FSM's critical fish stocks and combat transnational crime".

In November 2009, Australia funded a multi-million dollar works package that will extend the life of Federated States Ship (FSS) MICRONESIA out to 2023. FSS INDEPENDENCE is expected to undergo a similar refurbishment program in 2011.

Australia's Ambassador to FSM, H.E Ms. Susan Cox, said "the Pacific Patrol Boat program continued to be the central pillar of the bilateral security relationship."

She added "the gifting of three Pacific-class Patrol Boats, to FSM in the 1990s and the enduring presence of three Royal Australian Navy advisers represented Australia's commitment to the security of FSM."

In addition to discussions on the Pacific Patrol Boats, the Talks also provided a timely forum to share views on longer-term security issues, including FSM's participation in combined security exercises with regional nations, the development of Niue Treaty Subsidiary Agreements, fisheries information-sharing arrangements, and implications to regional security from Australia's 2009 Defense White Paper.

Secretary Robert remarked that "the new Australian Defense White Paper heralded a new paradigm of Australian security engagement in the region". He added "the stability and security of the region was at the forefront of Australia's strategic outlook" and this was welcomed in the Pacific.

This year, Australia agreed to fund six projects proposed by FSM. These projects will provide equipment and training for the Police Maritime Wing to enhance their effectiveness in the conduct of their duties.

Ambassador Cox said strengthening the capacity of FSM to secure its maritime environment remained a high priority for Australia.

She added that"Australia stood shoulder to shoulder with FSM in its efforts to police its territorial waters. Australia's security engagement in the Pacific is based on principles of mutual commitment and respect and therefore Australia was pleased to match FSM's own strong commitment to securing its sovereignty".

During the Talks, the Australian delegation also paid a courtesy call on the President of FSM, H.E Emanuel Mori, to brief him on the outcomes of the discussions. President Mori was pleased to welcome the delegation and thanked them for their time and commitment.

The Talks was attended by Secretary Lorin S. Robert who headed FSM's delegation, along with staff from the Department of Foreign Affairs, representatives of the Department of Justice, headed by Chief of Police Pius Chotailug. Vice President Alik was also in attendance of the opening of the Talks. The Australian side was headed by Ambassador Susan Cox with three additional members: Mr. Joachim Babo, Acting Director Pacific Maritime Engagement, Wing Commander Wendy Horder, Defense Attache to the FSM, and Mr. Duncan Searle, Policy Officer, Micronesia.

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