By: L.N. Reklai

Officials from U.S. government are visiting Palau this week to look at ways to improve the collaboration between the two governments, specifically how U.S. can contribute to the multilateral support Palau is receiving on maritime surveillance and marine law enforcement.

Matthew J. Matthews, Ambassador for APEC and Deputy Assistant Secretary for Australia, New Zealand and Pacific Islands under U.S. Department of State Bureau of East Asia and Pacific Affairs, stated that this was his third visit to Palau and this time, it is to look at ways to expedite the transfer of funds to Palau, from the funding of the 2nd Compact Financial Review Agreement.

Matthews is accompanied by Ms. Meghan E. Kleinsteinber who is a Desk Officer for Marshall Islands, Micronesia and Palau under the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs.

Deputy Secretary Matthews visited the new marine law office in Malakal to see how U.S. can play a part and contribute to the ongoing collaborative efforts between Palau, Japan and Australia in the marine surveillance efforts.

“U.S. will be providing the marine radars and we will be able to contribute data received in support of the marine enforcement efforts,” added Matthews.

U.S. Ambassador Amy Hyatt to the Republic of Palau added that Matthews multiple visits to Palau demonstrates the extent of U.S. interest in Palau and the value it places on its relationship with Palau.

Furthermore, Ambassador expressed that U.S. is very close to transferring the Compact funds to Palau.  She said they have discussed options with Palau and Palau has recently responded with how it wants the funds disbursed.  She added they are just working on minor legalities before funds are fully transferred.  “Palau has been very patient and we want to expedite this as soon as possible”, she added.

Deputy Matthews expressed his strong confidence in Palau’s effort to reach sustainable future saying that Palau has the means and the will to achieve its goal.

The officials will be visiting Peleliu today prior to their departure.