President Kuniwo Nakamura attended the groundbreaking ceremony for the Palau

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GOVERNMENT OF PALAU Office of the President Koror, Palau

Press Release November 12, 1999

GROUNDBREAKING CEREMONY FOR PALAU INTERNATIONAL CORAL REEF RESEARCH CENTER

International Coral Reef Research Center.

In attendance for this historic event were the Vice President, Ministers, traditional leaders, Coral Reef Board of Directors, and members of the community. Also in attendance were the Honorable Keiichi Hasegawa, Charge d’ Affairs of the Embassy of Japan to the Republic of Palau, and Allen Nugent, Charge d' Affairs of the Embassy of the United States of America.

The construction of the Center was made possible through the government of Japan's grant assistance of $7.3 million. In addition, the United States will be providing technical assistance, research data and scientific expertise.

President Nakamura stated: "With the construction of the Coral Reef Center, the future and the lives of the people of Palau will be that much brighter, for it will provide a forum for the people of Palau to enjoy, learn and appreciate the beauty of our delicate coral reefs. For this, I wish to thank our friends from Japan, the United States and other countries for making this dream a reality."

President Nakamura added: The Center was established as a self-sustaining center for the research, exploration and the study of one of Palau's most valuable assets, our coral reef eco-system. However, if the Center is to prosper it will take the combined effort of our government, our community and our international friends to make the center a true success."

The mission of the Center and Aquarium will be to create a self-sustaining center of excellence for marine research, training and other educational activities, and will be a wonderful addition to Palau's many other tourist attractions.

The construction of the Center will take up to 10 months to complete and the estimated time of completion will be by September 2000. The official grand opening is slated for January 2001.

(SEE: Palau Aquarium at http://palauaquarium.org/main.html)

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