WASHINGTON (FSM Information Services)–His Excellency David W. Panuelo, President of the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) met at the U.S. Department of State in Washington with Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs David Hale to discuss FSM-U.S. relations and upcoming talks between the countries on extending the expiring provisions of the FSM-U.S. Compact of Free Association, as Amended.
Joining President Panuelo at the meeting were FSM Ambassador to the United States Akillino H. Susaia, FSM Deputy Chief of Mission to the United States Jackson T. Soram, and Chief of Staff to the President Leo A. Falcam, Jr. Among those joining Under Secretary Hale were Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs David Stillwell and Acting Director of the State Department’s Office of Australia, New Zealand, and Pacific Island Affairs Jennifer Spande.
President Panuelo opened the conversation by praising Secretary of State Pompeo’s successful visit to the FSM in August 2019, the first such visit by a U.S. Secretary of State. President Panuelo noted that the FSM was particularly pleased to hear Secretary Pompeo’s announcement that the U.S. is prepared to work with the FSM on an extension of crucial support under our Compact of Free Association beyond FY 2023.
The President noted that the FSM and the U.S. have a longstanding strategic partnership that reflects the common democratic values of our two countries, and stated that the FSM viewed the United States as its key international partner and first and foremost ally.
President Panuelo also noted that the FSM was anxious to begin the talks announced by Secretary Pompeo. He advised that, although 2023 seemed like a long way away, the process between the two governments would likely be lengthy, including because both countries’ legislators would need to approve any agreements reached. President Panuelo introduced Chief of Staff Falcam as the FSM’s recently designated Chief Negotiator in the upcoming talks, through his role in the Joint Committee on Compact Review & Planning (JCRP).
Under Secretary Hale, who as Under Secretary of State holds the third-highest ranking position at the State Department, similarly praised the special bond between the United States and the FSM, noting the two countries’ deep history and broad-based commitments to one another through the Compact. He advised that the U.S. was committed to maintaining the strong ties that have existed for decades, and understood the importance of advancing the discussions on economic support issues so as to address the details of assistance after 2023.
Under Secretary Hale also informed President Panuelo that there are plans in development for an interagency team to visit the FSM later in the month of October to gather information and meet with officials as a preliminary step in the future negotiation process.
The meeting between the two officials was productive and will set the stage for future dialogue and cooperation between the FSM and U.S. Governments.