Government of the Federated States of Micronesia

Australian Delegation of Parliamentarians and Officials visits President Mori

Palikir, Pohnpei (FSM Information Services): December 21, 2011 - The Federated States of Micronesia played host again to the Australian Parliamentary Secretary for Pacific Island Affairs, The Honorable Richard Marles, whose visit this time is comprised of T.H. Julie Bishop, Deputy Leader of the Liberal Party and Shadow Foreign Minister, T.H. Bernie Ripoll and T.H. Teresa Gambaro, both parliamentarians, T.H. Penny Williams, Global Ambassador for Women and Girls, Ms. Saverina Churimbolo, assistant to Honorable Charles and Mr. Sam Riordon, adviser to Honorable Bishop. The delegation arrived Pohnpei on a Royal Australian Military aircraft in the morning of December 14, 2011 via Guam after first visiting the Solomon Islands and departed early in the morning of the next day for the island of Tuvalu.

The bipartisan delegation met with President Mori for an hour soon after their arrival, where exchanges were made to affirm the cordial and cooperative relationship between FSM and Australia based on shared interests and values as well as the substantive assistance and support provided to strengthen the relationship for mutual benefits. President Mori referred to the significant assistance provided by Australia to ensure longevity and sustainability of the Patrol Boat Program which has been instrumental in ensuring FSM's sovereign control over its exclusive economic zone in terms of maritime surveillance and law enforcement cooperation, search and rescue operation and apprehension of illegal activities, among others. The President also noted with appreciation Australia's support to various national entities through the provision of technical and advisory assistances made possible through the Pacific Partnership for Development scheme between the FSM and Australia in the areas of tax reform, environmental management and donor assistance coordination.

President Mori also commended Australia on its leadership role in advancing the concerns and interests of the Pacific island countries at the regional as well as international fora in areas such as, inter alia, peace and security through the Regional Assistance Mission to the Solomon Islands (RAMSI), efforts to improve better utilization and coordination of development assistance through the Cairns Compact for Strengthening Development Coordination, resource conservation and management through the Patrol Boat Program, prevention and apprehension of sea-borne, airborne or land-borne illegal activities through the Transnational Crime Unit, Joint Maritime Operations assistance and Border Management project.

The delegation asked the President about the state of relationship between FSM and the United States per the Compact relationship they continue to have as well as FSM's relationship with other partner countries such as Japan and China. In response, President Mori expressed his strong support and appreciation for the prevailing special relationship between FSM and the United States despite some challenges that require close dialogue and consultation between the two sovereigns. He also alluded to the strong relationship FSM has with both Japan and China who have strong presence in the FSM and have contributed tremendous support to the development efforts of the Nation.

The issue of gender equality and fairness was also raised by the madam parliamentarians of the Australian delegation and to which President Mori was pleased to point out the achievement of his Administration in appointing the first female ambassador to the United Nations and three female members of his Cabinet.

The Australian delegation seized the opportunity to affirmed Australia's close relationship with Pacific island countries including the FSM, and indicated the importance of the relationship as a pillar of Australia's foreign policy. According to Mr. Marles, head of the delegation, the bipartisan nature of the visit also shows the interest of the parliamentary members to get to know the region more and to hold discussions with Pacific leaders through such visit.

Besides meeting with President Mori who was staffed by various officials including Secretary Skilling of the Department of Health and Social Affairs and Secretary Mauricio of the Department of Education, the delegation also met with Speaker Figir and some of his colleagues on the island who later hosted a dinner function in honor of the delegation.

The delegation visit includes the Solomon Islands, FSM, Tuvalu and Samoa.

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