The 2nd Compact Review negotiations for Palau has begun with focus on “easy” topics according to Vice President Raynold Oilouch, the chief negotiator for the 2nd Compact Review.
Initial meetings, the team decided to address “easier topics”, like US federally funded programs that are to expire in 2024. Vice President Oilouch expressed that these programs, under the Compact of Free Association agreement are expected to expire in 2024.
Program include Postal Service System, Weather Service System and Aviation services are among others currently funded through US Federal programs.
Under the Compact, mail service to Palau and other freely associated states is funded through US postal system. Cost of this program is very high and US postal services, with its own internal issues financial issues, have to fund the services to Palau and other FAS states.
Other programs suchWeather Service and Aviation Service are on the table for discussion. Vice President Oilouch said that so far responses to these issues have invoked positive responses from the US side.
The meetings are being held online via virtual mode due to inability to travel as result of COVID-19.
Article III of the Compact of Free Association with United States, calls for a periodic review of Palau’s Compact and its related agreements.
United States had earlier through a diplomatic note has informed Palau of its desire to begin the thirteenth anniversary review under Section 423 with emphasis on “economic” provisions.”
Some of the key responsibilities of a Chief Representative include serving as a lead representative in discussions with the US, come to direct agreement with US representatives, undertake all necessary actions to bring successful conclusions to the discussions with the United States.
Members of the Compact Review Advisory Group will come from House of Delegates, Senate, Council of Chiefs, Governors’ Association and Palau Chamber of Commerce.