A third letter from the United States government calling for the initial preparation meeting between the US Compact Review team and Palau Compact Review team was received last week by Palau government. The purpose of the initial meeting is to set the ground rules, parameters and modes of communication for the upcoming talks between the two countries.
The letter was signed by US negotiating team co-chairs Ambassador Karen B. Stewart and the Department of Interior Assistant Secretary Dough Domenech.
“A lot can be damaged if we wait until 2021 to begin the talks on the Compact Review than if we begin the work now preparing Palau for the upcoming talks with the United States,” stated President Tommy E. Remengesau Jr. on getting the headstart to review the terms of the Compact and its related agreements.
Remengesau said that if the work begins now, it doesn’t mean that a decision will be made this year. “The final decision can be made next year but by starting the work now, we can ensure that all important matters are placed on the table for discussion,” he added.
Palau during this COVID-19 pandemic has also served to show areas of vulnerabilities and weaknesses that Palau can include in the upcoming discussions according to President Remengesau on the opportune time to prepare for discussions.
Vice President and Minister of Justice was earlier appointed to lead the Palau negotiating team. Other members not yet confirmed will come from OEK, State government, private sector and others. Remengesau said that team will be representative of different sectors of the community and the government and will represent general interest of the people.
Schedule of the first meeting has not been set but it is confirmed that it will be a virtual (online) meeting between the representatives of the two countries.