WASHINGTON—U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke last week thanked President Trump and commended the U.S. Congress for including authorization for the Palau Compact Review Agreement in the FY 2018 National Defense Authorization Act. Signed into law yesterday by the President, the enactment officially authorizes the strategic agreement signed between the United States and Palau governments in 2010.
“The U.S. Insular Areas are on the front lines of North Korean aggression and are an important part of the strategic defense for our nation,” said Secretary Zinke. “Authorizing full funding for the agreement is an important element of the Pacific national security strategy to maintain stability in the Western Pacific Region and we look forward to continuing our work with Congress to get this job done. President Trump’s strong support for the agreement, the Department’s budget request, and Congress’ support for it all point to the strategic importance of our U.S. Territories and the Freely Associated States. I have served with a number of warriors from the islands and I look forward to visiting the people of Palau in my role as Secretary.”
“Finalization of this agreement with Palau is long overdue,” said Assistant Secretary for Insular Areas Doug Domenech. “Interior, State and Defense have collaborated extensively in support of the Palau Compact Agreement and we look forward to final action from Congress to provide the appropriations necessary to finalize this important U.S. Government commitment to Palau.”
President Trump called for $123.9 million to implement the agreement in his proposed budget for FY 2018.
The U.S. Government and Palau signed the agreement in 2010, which proposed continued U.S. financial assistance totaling $229 million through 2024. At the time, full funding for the pact was not authorized. Beginning with FY 2010, subsequent Interior and discretionary appropriations acts have extended annual economic assistance to Palau of approximately $13.1 million a year for a total of $105.2 million in discretionary funds thus far. These funds are provided to assist the Government of Palau in its efforts to advance the well-being of its people and in recognition of the special relationship that exists between the United States and Palau. (PR)