Palau’s Compact Review Negotiating Team held its first discussion with U.S. Compact Negotiators on May 28, 2020. The discussion was held via video teleconference, due to global pandemic of COVID-19, with US Negotiators calling in from Hawaii and Washington, D.C.

The discussion was very preliminary and technical, covering topics including scheduling, medium of conducting discussions in light of COVID-19 travel restrictions, and the treatment of sensitive documents; possible topics of negotiations were also discussed. The tone of the virtual meeting was very positive and both sides considered the conversation to be a very good start. According to Vice President and Chief Representative for Compact 432 Review Raynold Oilouch, “It was clear that both sides want to see these negotiations succeed, and that both sides expect them to succeed. The U.S. Team includes many old friends of Palau and of the Freely Associated States, including of course, Ambassador Stewart and Assistant Secretary Doug Domenech. It was very good to see them, and our existing good relationships make it easy to start the discussion.”

Vice President and Chief Representative Oilouch was joined in Thursday’s discussion by Palau’s entire Negotiating Team. The team includes Vice President Oilouch, Minister of Finance Elbuchel Sadang, Chairman of the Governor’s Association Governor Temmy Shmull, PCC President Patrick Tellei, Reverend Billy Kuartei, and Dr. Victor Yano. The Negotiating Team is supported by the Compact Review Advisory Group, which includes Governor Shmull, Beouch Demei Obak from Council of Chiefs, Senate Vice President Mark Rudimch, Senator Dr.Stevenson Kuartei, Delegate Jonathan Isechal, Delegate Mengkur Rechelulk (who also attended the discussion), and Chamber of Commerce Vice President Vivien Ngirarsaol. Next video teleconference is set for the end of June.