June 22, 2015

By FSM Information Services
The Kaselehlie Press

June 17, 2015 Palikir, Pohnpei - In a courtesy call held in the morning of Tuesday June 9th, His Excellency Peter M. Christian, President of the FSM, received Assistant Secretary Esther Kia'aina of the Department of Interior on the occasion of her first official visit to the Federated Stated of Micronesia since her appointment to the post of Assistant Secretary.

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

President Christian confirmed that Assistant Secretary Kia'aina's visit to the FSM was very timely given the renewed interest of the country to accelerate progress towards strengthened and effective infrastructure development. The President expressed his concern on how much time and effort has 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 went further to describe that flexibility and periodic review was, and still is, the key 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 US, it was for continued military and security defense rights over the region.

Last, but not the least, the President acknowledged and recognized possible FSM contributions to the reduced pace of implementation. Towards this end, the President affirmed the need for both parties to work together and to move forward in the collective and collaborative spirit of a good-faith partnership that has always been the foundation of the FSM - U.S. relationship. The President affirmed his commitment towards this effort.

In response, the Assistant Secretary conveyed sentiments of appreciation for the welcome to the FSM, and described the introductory nature of her visit. Among others, she highlighted some initiatives in current contemplation and implementation by her office that are aimed towards 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 (FAS). Assistant Secretary Kia'aina confirmed her interest to work together, and displayed a proactive desire to work towards this end.