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By Nazario Rodriguez Jr.

SAIPAN, CNMI (Mariana Variety, July 24) - Minister of State Temmy Shmull said that the recent signing of a diplomatic relation between Indonesia and Palau opened up the possibility of an establishment of a shipping route from Indonesia via Philippines to Palau.

During an interview at his office in the New Capitol, Shmull preferred not to react on the comments made by Peleliu Governor Jackson Ngiraingas that this new diplomatic relationship opened-up the door for terrorist groups to enter Palau and set the ground to hit the United States.

Instead, Shmull said, "Palau is happy because finally we concluded our diplomatic relations and we will soon resume discussions with the Foreign Minister of Indonesia regarding trade."

Indonesia is the 42nd country that had formally established such diplomatic relationship. He said that there is an invitation from the government of Indonesia for a 10-day familiarization trip.

Aside from shipping, trade and commerce, Shmull said that such diplomatic relation opened up tourism exchange. He would be meeting local business community such as the Palau Chamber of Commerce.

Shmull also hinted the upcoming talks on the issues regarding the boundaries with the Philippines and Indonesia, which, he said, is overlapping. After four years of discussions, Palau and Indonesia signed on July 6 the establishment of the diplomatic relations between the two neighboring nations.

Palau’s Ambassador to the Philippines Ramon Rechebei signed on behalf of Palau while Indonesia’s Ambassador to the Philippines Professor Irzan Tandjung signed on behalf of Indonesia.

The two governments will promote and strengthen ties of friendship and cooperation between the two countries and peoples on the basis of equality, mutual respect for each other’s sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity as well as non-interference in the internal affairs of each other.

"We are looking forward to a positive result," said Shmull.

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