FSM President Christian Meets With US Interior Official

Pacific Islands Development Program, East-West Center With Support From Center for Pacific Islands Studies, University of Hawai‘i

News Release

FSM Information Services Palikir, Pohnpei, FSM

June 18, 2015

Peter M. Christian, president of the FSM, on Tuesday received Assistant Secretary Esther Kia’aina of the U.S. Department of the Interior on the occasion of her first official visit to the Federated Stated of Micronesia since her appointment to her post.

The occasion provided an opportunity to affirm personal and professional acquaintances, and also for exchanges and discussions on important issues and common interests; specifically, the role of Interior in Compact management and implementation.

Christian said Kia’aina’s visit to the FSM was very timely given the renewed interest of the island-nation to accelerate progress toward strengthened and effective infrastructure development.

He expressed concern that much time and effort have been devoted to process, with little movement in obtaining tangible results.

As was the general and mutual understanding among negotiators of the Amended Compact, he said flexibility and periodic review were, and still are, the keys to successful implementation of the goals and objectives of the Compact.

For the FSM, the goals and objectives have always been economic improvement, and growth through infrastructure project development; creating an environment conducive to employment opportunities, active private sector participation, and improved public service delivery to FSM citizens.

For the U.S., it was for continued military and security defense rights over the region.

The president acknowledged and recognized possible FSM contributions to the reduced pace of implementation.

Towards this end, he affirmed the need for both parties to work together and move forward in the collective and collaborative spirit of a good-faith partnership that has always been the foundation of FSM-U.S. relationship.

Christian affirmed his commitment toward this effort.

In response, Kia’aina conveyed sentiments of appreciation for the welcome to the FSM, and described the introductory nature of her visit.

She highlighted some initiatives in current contemplation and implementation by her office that are aimed toward providing better services to citizens of the FSM living in the United States.

She made specific reference to medical health services, a "one-stop shop" service for FSM citizens arriving in the U.S., and a concerted effort to revitalize U.S. government inter-agency cooperation in recognizing, and assisting citizens of the Freely Associated States.

Assistant Secretary Kia’aina confirmed her interest in working together, and a proactive desire to work toward this end.

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