By: L.N. Reklai
December 14, 2017 (Koror, Palau) President Remengesau Jr. expressed Palau’s appreciation to President Donald Trump for signing into law National Defense Authorization Act of 2018, which ratified Compact Review Agreement of 2010 between the Republic of Palau and the United States of America.
“Palau is strong democracy and ally of the United States in a crucial part of the Pacific. Your actions after seven years of delay send a clear message to the people of the Pacific that the United States stands with its friends.”
The agreement signed between the two countries in September 2010 proposed continued funding assistance of $229 million through 2024. The agreement was signed by the U.S. Executive Branch but the full funding was not authorized by U.S. Congress
U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke stated that “The U.S. Insular Areas are in the front lines of North Korean aggression and are an important part of the strategic defense for our nation. Authorizing full funding for the agreement is an important element of the Pacific national security strategy to maintain stability in the Western Pacific Region and we look forward to continuing our work with Congress to get this job done.”
The agreement financial assistant totaled $229 million. Since 2010 until now, Palau has been receiving $13.1 million each year from Interior’s discretionary appropriation and to date have received $105.2 million. The Act provides that those prior payments shall be considered as funding to implement agreement.
Ratification of the COFA II Agreement by U.S. Congress ensures that Palau will receive funding from DOI through other sources if Congress does not approve specific source of funds for COFA funding.
“Interior, State and Defense have collaborated extensively in support of the Palau Compact Agreement and we look forward to final action from Congress to provide appropriations necessary to finalize this important U.S. Government commitment to Palau,” said Assistant Secretary for Insular Areas Dough Domenech. [/restrict]