U.S. CONGRESSMEN TO STOP IN PALAU

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Delegation’s agenda not disclosed

By Bernadette H. Carreon KOROR (Palau Horizon, Aug. 5, 2009) - President Johnson Toribiong is to meet with a delegation from the United States Congress.

The delegation is scheduled to visit Palau on August 6.

Details of the visit however have not been made public.

[PIR editor’s note: Rep. Nick Rahall, chairman of the U.S. House Natural Resources Committee, is leading an official delegation to the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) to review concerns about potential impacts of the planned "federalization" of immigration operations to begin there on November 28. Rahall is to arrive on Saipan on Saturday, along with Rep. Gregorio Kilili Sablan (D-MP) and other members of congress. The delegation plans to visit American Samoa and Palau before arrival on Saipan and finally Guam. ]

Palau and the United States are now in a middle of Compact of Free Association review.

Palau has sought for a one-year extension to continue the level of funding it has been receiving from the U.S. despite of the lapse of economic provisions in September.

Earlier, Toribiong said that Palau’s request to extend the level of funding from 2009 to 2010 has been approved by the US Government Office of Management and Budget and has the support of the Departments of the Interior and State.

The US budget for 2010 is still subject to the approval of the United States Congress.

Toribiong said that consultant and Ambassador in Washington D.C. are following the legislative deliberations of the US Congress to make sure that the appropriation for Palau in 2010 will not be lost in the process.

Compact Chief Negotiator Ambassador Joshua Koshiba in the last meeting in July with the U.S. Compact Representatives, he said that the U.S. assured that Congress will pass the budget for the extension.

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