The United States and Palau signed the COFA Review Memorandum of Understanding, promising double the assistance offered to Palau in 2020
Calling the earlier reported offer “unacceptable,” Whipps said that principles of partnership and resiliency had guided Palau’s team.
“The relationship between Palau and the U.S. should be a partnership – Palau offers strategic importance in terms of stability in the region and provides defense rights to the U.S. The Compact and its economic assistance provisions should be a mechanism for Palau to increase its resiliency from threats like the pandemic, climate change, and market disruptions,” said President Surangel Whipps Jr. in a statement issued yesterday.
The Compact Review Agreement (CRA) MOU reaffirms the United States’ rights and obligations captured under the Compact of Free Association, including the right to “deny forces of other nations access” into Palau’s territorial space, both air and sea, an area “as large as the U.S. State of Texas adjacent to the Philippines and Indonesia.”
Palau, under the MOU, will “refrain from actions the U.S. says would compromise security.”
President Surangel Whipps Jr. said that the financial package agreed to under the Compact is not “assistance” but a mutually beneficial exchange between Palau and the United States.
The Palau government insists that the Compact Review Agreement MOU is not the finalized CRA. However, the press release from the Office of the President states, “understanding reached today covers assistance over the next 20 years that is more than twice the 2020 package and assistance past 20 years.”
The Compact Review Agreement and the accompanying financial package require the United States congress approval. The report said that “if a full agreement is reached and approved by the U.S. Congress,” it will take effect this October 1st, 2023.
The last Compact Review Agreement Package signed in 2009 by the Obama Administration was funded by the US Congress in 2018, eight years later. That package was scheduled to take effect in FY 2010.