WASHINGTON, D.C.—U.S. Department of the Interior representatives held initial consultations last week with teams from each of the Freely Associated States to organize talks around the bilateral review of expiring provisions of the Compacts of Free Association with the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, and the Republic of Palau.
The U.S. negotiating team is led by Assistant Secretary, Insular and International Affairs, Douglas W. Domenech and U.S. Department of State Ambassador Karen B. Stewart.
“We are pleased to begin these important discussions with the FSM, the RMI, and with Palau,” said Domenech. “Despite challenges due to the coronavirus pandemic, we have been able to lay the groundwork for successful negotiations and establish a notional schedule with the goal of concluding negotiations by the end of this year.”
“Our Compacts with the RMI, the FSM, and Palau support a free and open Indo-Pacific. These discussions will strengthen our already deep bilateral relationships and rich people-to-people ties,” said Stewart.
On May 21, 2019, President Donald J. Trump met with Palau President Tommy E. Remengesau, Jr., then-RMI President Hilda C. Heine, and FSM President David W. Panuelo in the White House for an historic visit. This was the first time that all three FAS leaders were hosted together at the White House by a U.S. President, demonstrating the special partnership between the United States and the FAS. The FAS presidents also met with State Secretary Michael R. Pompeo, then-acting secretary of Defense Patrick M. Shanahan, and Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert Wilkie among other high-level U.S. officials. Interior Secretary David Bernhardt also met with the three presidents during their visit to Washington, D.C. in affirmation of the unique role and responsibilities Interior holds in these relationships.
On Aug. 5, 2019, Pompeo announced negotiations with the FSM, RMI, and Palau during an historic visit to Pohnpei where he met with Panuelo, Heine, and Palau Vice President Raynold B. Oilouch. (PR)