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[Yap State News Brief] Future Of Treaty Between US, FSM Governments Discussed

 

Resource: Yap State News Brief (2016/2/23)

Hagatna, Guam (KUAM News, Feb. 22, 2016) — What does the future hold between the Federated States of Micronesia and the United States? That’s the question dozens of FSM citizens posed before a panel of government officials during a forum over the weekend.

“I want to make something very clear,” stated Lorin Robert, FSM foreign affairs secretary. “This Resolution 19-155, is a draft resolution – that means it’s not a reality yet.” It’s a reality many citizens of the Federated States of Micronesia are having a hard time trying to imagine. Resolution 19-155 was introduced in November last year and would terminate the Compact of Free Association between the United States and the FSM no later than 2018.

During a forum over the weekend, Leo Falcam, Jr., the FSM president’s chief of staff, says if the entire Compact is terminated, it will have an effect of benefits for FSM citizens. “Those affects are fairly far reaching, especially when it comes to immigrations and those programs our citizens can take advantage of when they’re living abroad in the United States or its territories, so those are things that are being looked at very carefully because it does not mean necessarily that people start getting deported,” he said.

Other questions ranged from political status, being a sovereign country, security and federal funding. Speaking of funding, officials noted a bigger concern aside from the resolution is what happens in 2023 – when the financial component of the Compact is set to end. At this time, a trust fund, that the US and FSM governments have been contributing to since 2004, will kick-in.

Former FSM ambassador to the US Asterio Takesy says it might not be enough, adding, “What we will receive from that account will not equal what we are receiving today from the US grants. It will be short by approximately 30-40% of what we receiving today. That is a serious deficit in terms of government services.”

The officials noted the FSM does receive some economic assistance from foreign donors and bilateral partners. And while none of the FSM senators behind the resolution were present, Guam senator Frank Blas, Jr. was and gave his support on finding ways to not only address concerns but help build economies in the region. “My presence is to show you that Guam here, your government here has just as much concern with it as your government back home and you can rest assured,” he said.

Officials noted while the resolution only requests for the FSM president to terminate the Compact, it would actually have to be mutually agreed by both the US and the FSM. That would also involve a plebiscite with the four island states of Yap, Pohnpei, Kosrae and Chuuk.

Resource: Yap State News Brief (2016/2/23)

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