Palau and the United States formally signed the Compact Review Agreement in Papua New Guinea this week, witnessed by President Surangel Whipps Jr and U.S Secretary of State Antony Blinken.
Palau Chief Compact Negotiator Finance Minister Kaleb Udui Jr and U.S Special Envoy Joseph Yun signed the agreement. The signing followed the initialing ceremony held in Palau last week.
Palau Chief Negotiator Udui Jr said he would have preferred the signing in Palau but said, “We are very supportive of what the U.S is trying to do and what we are doing for the region.” He added, “It is important to go there and showcase and show our solidarity and strength.”
The Compact Review Agreement, mandated under the Compact of Free Association, calls for the two countries to come together after 15 years to review the country’s economic performance against the Compact’s objectives, including Palau’s economic self-sufficiency.
Under this second Compact Review, the Whipps administration said it secured a financial package of US$889 million of financial support over a 20-year period. Of the US$889 million, US$100 million is allocated to Trust Fund, US$60 million goes to debt service, US$20 million annual funding for government operations for 20 years, US$5 million annual funding for infrastructure, and $5 million annual funding for maintenance.
Included under the new Compact Review Agreement are also non-financial programmes such as the continuation of the U.S Postal Service to Palau.
Ten out of twelve senators boycotted the initialing ceremony last week expressing upset over the lack of information provided in this Compact Review and feeling those were important information for the Legislature to be aware of before the signing of the agreement.
President Surangel Whipps is attending the India-Pacific Island Cooperation Summit (FIPIC) hosted by PM Narendra Modi and Papua New Guinea’s PM James Marape.
SOURCE: ISLAND TIMES/PACNEWS