SAIPAN, CNMI (Marianas Variety, Feb. 5) - CNMI Gov. Juan N. Babauta, Guam Gov. Felix R. Camacho and Yap Gov. Robert Ruecho confirm they will participate in the first Western Micronesia Heads of State Meeting, tentatively set for March 1.

Palau President Tommy Remengesau Jr. is also expected to join the group, Babauta said.

"The forum of this kind would be a good opportunity for us to address issues of mutual interests and concerns," Babauta said in a letter to Remengesau on Friday.

Babauta said the gathering will be an "exciting idea."

Originally scheduled this month, the meeting date was moved, pending approval of the proposed agenda, which includes the creation of a regional airline, regional health issues, fuel costs, the shipping industry, and the promotion of fisheries and tourism.

Babauta, Camacho and Ruecho all suggested that the first meeting be held in Palau.

But if Remengesau declines to participate, the meeting may be hosted by Guam, Babauta said.

The Western Micronesia meeting was discussed by Babauta and Camacho who visited Saipan last month. Ruecho expressed his intention to participate during a meeting with Lt. Gov. Diego T. Benavente who attended the Yap governor’s inauguration recently.

Ruecho told Benavente that other states of the FSM were also interested in joining the group.

Babauta, who is president of the Pacific Basin Development Council, said they will also invite Hawaii Gov. Linda Lingle to participate in the meeting.

February 5, 2003

For additional reports from the Marianas Variety, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Newspapers/ Marianas Variety. 

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