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GOVERNMENT OF PALAU Office of the President Koror, Palau

Press Release January 24, 2000


President Kuniwo Nakamura on behalf of the Republic of Palau welcomed the Honorable Gavriel Levy, Ambassador from Israel. The Honorable Mr. Levy came to Palau to present his Ambassadorial Credentials as well offer greetings and warm wishes from the government and the people of Israel. The Honorable Mr. Levy presented his Credentials in a formal ceremony at the Office of the President.

Attending this significant occasion was Paramount High Chief Ibedul, Paramount High Chief Reklai, the President’s Cabinet and Koror State Delegate, Mr. Alan Seid.

Ambassador Levy in his address during the ceremony stated, "I am particularly pleased to have this opportunity to present to His Excellency President Kuniwo Nakamura the Letter of Credence, accrediting me as Ambassador of Israel to the Republic of Palau. As Ambassador to your country, I hope to contribute to the enhancement of the mutually beneficial relationship and cooperation between Israel and the Republic of Palau."

Ambassador Levy added, "Although the Republic of Palau is small compared to other countries, Palau has always given international support to Israel throughout the years, and has shown that the true measure of a country it is not its size but the spirit of its people that is important. It remains for me to humbly offer my personal good wishes to His Excellency President Kuniwo Nakamura and for the well-being and prosperity of the government and the people of the Republic of Palau."

President Nakamura stated, "In recognition of the foregoing and in the spirit of great respect, amity, goodwill, and commonality of interest which our countries share, it is my pleasure to accept the endorsement of the government of Israel and welcome its most honorable emissary, Mr. Gavriel Levy, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary, and in return offer the renewed assurances of the Republic of Palau’s unyielding best wishes for the health, safety, and prosperity of the government and the people of Israel."


Press Release January 10, 2000


President Kuniwo Nakamura convened the first meeting of the Republic of Palau National Banking Review Commission. Consisting of representatives from the Office of the President, the Council of Chiefs, the Office of the Attorney General, the House of Delegates, the Senate, the Foreign Investment Board, and the Chamber of Commerce, the Commission was initially proposed by the President in the course of addressing recent legislative initiatives. The President established the commission in order to ensure that the Republic of Palau could develop its potential as a legitimate financial center without becoming a sanctuary for criminal elements. The creation of the commission also followed bilateral discussions with the United States in December of last year where the President reaffirmed Palau’s goal of maintaining a safe, sound, and legally responsible banking environment and its commitment to cooperating with other nations and international organizations to combat money-laundering and other international financial crimes. The decision to create the Commission received broad support among national leaders who lost no time in naming their appointees to the Commission.

The Commission’s task is to examine existing banking operations in Palau and evaluate existing laws, regulations, and enforcement mechanisms concerning banking in the nation. By reviewing the existing domestic laws on banking as well as model laws and laws of other jurisdictions, the Commission is expected to identify and recommend changes in banking controls and specific actions to be taken to protect Palau’s depositors and investors, to prevent Palau from becoming a haven for illicit financial activities, and to stop any such activities which the commission might discover. According to the President, "We cannot deny that we are part of the global economy, now. While the benefits of participating in the new economic reality far outweigh the costs, we must recognize the dangers that come with them. When even the most experienced banks and traders can be duped into disastrous deals and shady operations, we must take care. Our laws must be at least as sophisticated as those who would avoid them. Hopefully, the work of the Commission will ensure that they are."

Before turning the meeting over to the Commission’s Chairperson, Attorney General Jennifer S. Young, the President acknowledged the tight deadlines facing the Commission, but expressed confidence that the importance of the work and the degree of consensus already evident among the leaders of Palau would make it possible for the members to complete their work in the time allowed.

Turning directly to business, the Commission quickly reviewed the various tasks required under the Executive Order, the deadlines for the completion of the tasks, sources of information to serve as a starting point for its operations, and made plans to circulate such information as the members already had gathered.

Before adjourning, the Commission scheduled its next meeting for later this week to pool additional information, assign specific areas of responsibility among the members, establish a schedule for meetings, and begin the real work of the Commission. In the meantime, echoing the President’s view of the magnitude and importance of the Commission’s work, Chairperson Young encouraged the members to prepare for the meeting and the tasks ahead.

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