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The United States and Palau will conduct an initial Compact Agreement consultation which starts Tuesday.
According to an earlier statement made to the local media, a team of U.S officials will be in Palau from 08 - 09 October for an initial consultation on the Palau-U. S Compact ahead of 2024, when the second provision of economic assistance ends.
Palau’s Vice President Raynold Oilouch disclosed that the United States requested to hold a consultation meeting or “more like a listening tour.”
“Representatives from the U.S government will be on a listening tour. They want to hear our views and the issues we want to discuss in the compact review,” Vice President Oilouch said.
The consultation meeting comes after U.S President Donald Trump vowed to open up compact negotiations and to conclude those talks by the end of 2020. The U.S Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced Trump’s proposal in his visit to Pohnpei. FSM, on 05 August, where he met with the leaders of Palau, FSM, and the Marshall Islands - the freely associated states. Vice President Oilouch represented Palau in the meeting with Pompeo. In preparation for the visit by the U.S officials,
President Tommy Remengesau has created a committee composed of key executive branch ministers and members of the Congress for the meeting. Vice President Oilouch further disclosed that a memo has been issued to key government agencies for recommendations and issues deemed relevant to be brought up at the meeting.
“The U.S said they came just to listen, so we are going to take their advice and won’t be holding back on our views and what we want,” VP Oilouch said.
Vice President Oilouch added that based on the outcome of the consultation meetings then Palau would be in a better position to know what step to take next.
“Whether we will go ahead and establish a formal Compact review team or what is going to come after is still to be decided.
This is only an initial discussion,” VP Oilouch said.
Oilouch said it is not clear whether the consultation will be on the financial agreement or the Compact agreement that will end in 2024.
Under the Compact of Free Association, the U.S. military have access to airspace and waters of the Federated States of Micronesia, the Marshall Islands and Palau with the provision that the nations will receive a financial package from the U.S. which is renewed every 15 years.
SOURCE: PACIFIC NOTE/PACNEWS
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