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PALIKIR, Pohnpei (Oct. 11, 2002 - FSMIS)---President Leo A. Falcam was in Washington D.C. recently where he met with U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell, Secretary of Interior Gale Norton and other government officials.

Falcam reaffirmed the FSM’s support for U.S. initiatives in the war on terrorism, and thanked Powell for the favorable working relationship established earlier with Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs James A. Kelly. The two wrapped up their meeting with a bilateral agreement concerning limitations on extradition of U.S. and FSM citizens to the International Criminal Court.

During their meeting, Falcam thanked Powell for the constructive spirit in which the U.S. negotiators had participated in the ongoing Compact negotiation. The president said he looked forward to the continuation of the unique security and defense relationship between the two countries under the Compact of Free Association.

In his meeting with Norton, the president expressed gratitude for prompt attention to the USS Mississinewa oil leakage in Yap and PCB cleanup assistance. Gratitude was also extended for the pledge of technical assistance to help the FSM government implement improved accountability measures.

Falcam commended Norton for selecting David B. Cohen to head the Office of Insular Affairs, a position recently upgraded to deputy assistant secretary. He expressed his pleasure at the selection of a Pacific islander for the post and was appreciative of Cohen’s visit to FSM in August, a month after taking office.

Falcam also met with Senators Daniel Akaka and Ted Stevens; and Representatives James V. Hansen, Nick J. Rahall II and Diane E. Watson, former U.S. Ambassador to the FSM.

Falcam updated the legislative members on the status of the Compact talks and highlighted some remaining areas of concern for the FSM. He further expressed the need for a prompt conclusion to the talks to facilitate consideration of the Compact during the current session of the U.S. Congress.

A number of other meetings were held during the president’s visit, including discussions with members of the National Security Council and staff members of the House Education Committee.

A dinner reception was hosted by the FSM Embassy in Washington to honor Falcam and his delegation, which included First Lady Iris Falcam, Secretary of Foreign Affairs Ieske K. Iehsi, Chief Negotiator of the Joint Committee on Compact Economic Negotiation (JCN) Sen. Peter M. Christian, and Secretary of Finance John Ehsa, who was also in Washington for the International Monetary Fund and World Bank meetings.

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