NGERULMUD/KOROR (US GOVT) — U. S Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland has completed a visit to Palau as part of her weeklong visit to the Pacific Islands
She highlighted the United States’ historic and long-standing relationship with Palau, one of three freely associated states in the Pacific whose relationship is underpinned by a Compact of Free Association (Compact).
Secretary Haaland, Assistant Secretary for Insular and International Affairs Carmen G. Cantor, and Deputy Assistant to the President and Asian American and Pacific Islander Senior Liaison Erika L. Moritsugu met with President Surangel Whipps, Jr, and other cabinet officials.
They discussed the Biden-Harris administration’s ongoing commitment to the island, including the importance of negotiations regarding the extension of economic assistance under the Compact. The group also discussed Palau’s work related to the Economic Advisory Group, funded with support from the Department of the Interior to support economic, financial, and management reforms in Palau.
Secretary Haaland also announced US$1,008,000 in Office of Insular Affairs Technical Assistance Programme grant funds that will support several priority projects for Palau, including:
*US$500,000 for the National Repository of Youth and Workforce Development project;
*US$350,000 for the Cheberdil (Young Sprouts in Palauan) Belau Youth Center; and
*US$158,000 to U.S Army Corps of Engineers for an assessment of the Palau Ngerimel Dam and Reservoir.
While in Palau, Secretary Haaland and the group visited the Coral Reef Research Foundation and the Rock Islands Southern Lagoon to experience firsthand how Palau is investing in unique opportunities for climate resilience and coastal development planning.
They also toured Peleliu, the island where the Battle of Peleliu took place during World War II, to honor the Americans who served there. The island is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and has been designated a U.S National Historic Landmark.
On 22 May 2023, the United States and Palau signed an agreement marking the successful conclusion of Compact-related negotiations to extend economic assistance beyond 2024.
The Administration’s proposal to extend economic assistance to the Republic of Palau beyond 2024 is being considered by the U.S Congress… PACNEWS