PALIKIR, POHNPEI FSM: Representatives of the Federated States of Micronesia and the United States of America have signed three agreements related to the U.S.-FSM Compact of Free Association, including updates to the Compact of Free Association, marking important milestones regarding the extension of the U.S. Government’s Compact-related economic assistance to the FSM.
Alissa M. Bibb, Chargé d’affaires of the U.S. Embassy in Kolonia (left) and FSM Chief Negotiator Leo A. Falcam, Jr. (right) signing the documents at a ceremony in Palikir, FSM.
FSM Chief Negotiator Leo A. Falcam, Jr., signed on behalf of the Federated States of Micronesia. Signing on behalf of the United States was Alissa M. Bibb, Chargé d’affaires of the U.S. Embassy in Kolonia, FSM.
The ceremony here on May 23 in the FSM President’s Conference Room was witnessed by the President of the Federated States of Micronesia Wesley W. Simina, Vice President of the Federated States of Micronesia Aren B. Palik, Speaker of the Congress of the Federated States of Micronesia Esmond B. Moses, Pohnpei State Governor Reed B. Oliver, Kosrae State Governor Tulensa Palik, and an audience of national and state officials from the FSM, representatives of the U.S. Embassy in the FSM, members of the media, and the public.
“Today is cause for celebration in the life of our young country,” stated President Simina. “These agreements continue a renewal and extension of our enduring partnership with the United States that began after World War II. They constitute a reciprocal commitment between our two governments to continue and deepen that partnership for years to come.”
Speaker Moses reinforced the nature of the continuing relationship and recalled that the long negotiation process started with the administrations of former Presidents Peter Christian and David Panuelo, the latter who, like the Speaker, was a former Member of the Joint Committee on Compact Review and Planning (JCRP). Now that the agreement is signed, he stressed “it is critical that we share information with the states and communities, because the work is not yet done.”
Chief Negotiator Falcam stated, “This is indeed a historic day. It is a day that symbolizes, with substance, the desire, intent, and willingness to renew our agreement, and to continue to deepen and strengthen our enduring and historical special relationship with the United States of America.” He continued, “It is an agreement that respects each nation’s sovereignty and recognizes how far the FSM has progressed in our ever-increasing ability to effectively administer and manage the economic and financial affairs of this nation. It represents our enduring FSM desire for continued economic growth and development and our mutual and bilateral desires for a stable, secure, and prosperous rules-based Pacific.”
Chief Negotiator Falcam thanked the U.S. negotiating team for their approach to the talks, “I can say from experience and confidence that the negotiations have been undertaken by both sides with mutual purpose, mutual respect, and in support of mutual interests.”
Chargé d’affaires Bibb also thanked the FSM negotiating team and stressed both countries’ shared respect for democracy, commitment to human rights, the rule of law, and shared desire for the peace and security of the region. She recognized the contribution of FSM citizens serving in the U.S. armed forces and of those living throughout the United States for the cultural enrichment to their communities, as well as U.S. Peace Corps volunteers who have served over the years in the FSM. “We truly appreciate our deep and enduring partnership with the FSM, exemplified by the COFA. It is a partnership of shared values and people-to-people ties,” Chargé Bibb stated.
Signed today were amendments to several sections of the U.S-FSM Compact of Free Association, as well as updated agreements between the FSM and the United States on Fiscal Procedures and the Compact Trust Fund.
The agreements signed today constitute three of the four agreements between the two governments that needed to be updated to extend financial assistance, programs, and services for the FSM prior to September 30, 2023, when U.S. assistance is set to expire unless it is extended. These documents will now be submitted to the Congresses of the Federated States of Micronesia and the United States for final consideration and approval. Discussions continue on several outstanding issues related to the fourth agreement, the Federal Programs and Services Agreement, and the two sides are working to reach agreement on this final document in the near future.
The Compact signing had originally been scheduled to take place in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea on May 22 witnessed by FSM President Simina and U.S. President Joe Biden. The signing was rescheduled for May 23 in Pohnpei after President Biden canceled his visit to PNG late last week.
(Left to Right): Speaker of the FSM Congress Esmond Moses; Pohnpei State Governor Reed Oliver; FSM Vice President Aren Palik, U.S. Embassy Chargé d’affaires Alissa Bibb; FSM President Wesley Simina; FSM Chief Negotiator Leo Falcam, Jr.; and Kosrae State Governor Tulensa Palik.