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Opening Remarks by Albert V. Short U.S. Negotiator

Honolulu, Hawai‘i August 28-29, 2002

Foreign Minister Zackios, members of the RMI delegation, Ambassador deBrum, Ambassador Senko:

I am pleased to meet with you in Honolulu for this third round of U.S.-RMI Compact Negotiations.

I wish to be brief and to the point since our time is so valuable. We now have a very short time left in order to have U.S. Compact funding in place by October 1, 2003. I therefore urge all of us here to do all we can to close outstanding issues at this session.

To meet our Congressional deadline:

I think these objectives are genuinely attainable at this session. As you know, too, the message from Capitol Hill is a simple one: WE ARE LATE WITH COMPACT LANGUAGE. Congressional Members Watson and Faleomavaega recently visited the Marshalls to reiterate this message. The same message was personally emphasized to me during and after recent Congressional Hearings before Congressmen Hansen and Leach in July.

To repeat, Minister Zackios, we are late and therefore our goal should be to agree on the Compact Title Two text coupled with its fiscal procedures and trust fund agreements and to make meaningful progress on immigration at this session.

I urge all of us to focus on closure in order to hold a follow-on formal initialing session in Majuro in September.

Let me also add that I agree with President Note that this round of negotiations also presents us with "one last opportunity" to negotiate an extension of the Kwajalein military use agreement. I therefore enjoin us both to make substantial progress on this issue at this time.

I look forward to visiting Majuro in September. But for now, I will do all I can to be available and to demonstrate our commitment to reach closure at this session.

Thank you for your consideration and help.

[Also see:

U.S., Marshalls Compact Of Free Association Negotiators Meet In Hawai‘i

Marshall Islands And U.S. Hold Compact Talks In Hawai‘i

JOINT COMMUNIQUÉ on the Fourth Round of Compact Negotiations between the Republic of the Marshall Islands and the United States of America, August 29, 2002, Honolulu, Hawai‘i

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