The United States is expected to take possession of the lands identified as sites of the Aerial Domain Awareness (ADA) radar stations by October 1, paving the way for the installation of the radar systems to increase monitoring ability in the region.

In an interview yesterday, Vice President and Minister of Justice Raynold Oilouch told reporters that Palau has already executed some lease agreements with landowners for the US use of the lands.

Oilouch said that Palau is also ready to sign the lease agreements with the remaining landowners.

The sites of the ADA will be in Ngaraard and Angaur and nothing has changed with Palau’s agreement with the U.S.

Oilouch added that Palau and U.S. have also agreed that no land will be turned over unless payments have been made.

Palau government will sign lease agreements with the landowners and the government, in turn, will sign the pact with the U.S. on the use of the sites. However, the U.S. government will shoulder the lease of the sites.

The U.S. government will also be installing maritime domain awareness radars to enhance Palau’s maritime law enforcement capability.

Under the Compact, the US is responsible for Palau’s defense which gives the US military access to the island nation.

Last year, Palau and the US said the project is “essential to the well-being of the Republic of Palau’s air and maritime domains, as well as to the ability of the United States to maintain its defense of the Republic of Palau.”

The radar system would help Palau monitor 500,000-square-kilometer maritime sanctuary it created in 2015.

The radars are expected to increase Palau’s capability to catch incursion in its waters amid the transition period to close 80 percent of its EEZ to commercial fishing. (Bernadette H. Carreon)