A congressional delegation led by the U.S. House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Gregory Meeks (D-NY) is visiting Palau next week to meet with President Surangel Whipps Jr., his cabinet, and civil society organizations to “reaffirm the strong and enduring partnership of the United States and the Republic of Palau.”

Chairman Meeks is said to lead a bipartisan Congressional Delegation to the region.  With him are Representative Peter Meijer (R-MI), Representative Sara Jacobs 9D-CA), Representative Rodney Davis (R-IL), Representative G.K. Butterfield (D-NC), and Representative Tom Suozzi (D-NY).

In his report this week, President Whipps said that the U.S. focus has shifted to the Pacific.  This, he said, is reflected in the US-Pacific Partnership document.  Regarding the compact negotiations, he said there is a “sense of urgency” from the White House, which is “reassuring.”

The U.S. congressional visit comes right before the annual Joint Committee Meeting (JCM), mandated by the Compact, where the U.S. Department of Defense military and civilian officials and a Palau delegation meet to discuss ongoing defense commitments and initiatives in the region.

Earlier this month, another US Congressional delegation led by Representative Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (D-Fl), Chairperson of the US House Subcommittee on Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, also visited Palau to meet with Palau leaders and US Department of Defense officials.

The US House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee has the “mandate to oversee legislation regarding the impact of national security developments on foreign policy; war powers, treaties, executive agreements, and military deployments abroad; foreign assistance; arms control; international economic policy; and other matters.”  (By: L.N. Reklai)

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