United States has expressed keen interest in expediting the Compact negotiations with Palau, reported President Surangel Whipps Jr. after his visit early this month to Washington D.C.
President Whipps met with 9 US congressmen and the US Special Presidential Envoy Joseph Yun for Compact Negotiations.
“We were there to thank them and to let them know that we will not accept the previous offer,” expressed President Whipps of his meeting with US congressmen. Whipps clarified that the earlier amount of $400 million reported by media to have been offered by the United States was not acceptable.
He said that he wanted to open the discussion to wider negotiation, one that is “generous and comprehensive…and on our own terms.”
Whipps said that he was encouraged that they were understanding of the challenges faced by Palau and are willing to sit, listen and work with us.
His meetings with US congressmen, he said, were very important.
“Ultimately the compact will come before them. It is important that they know Palau and the challenges we face,” said Whipps.
He said the United States is keen to come to the negotiating table and as soon as Palau’s Compact Advisory team led by Minister of Finance Kaleb Udui Jr. puts a package together, they can come together quickly.
Whipps reported that the United States has approved the appointment of James Galbraith as one of the members of the Economic Advisory Group mandated under the previous Compact Review Agreement (CRA).
He said that now the team is assembled with representatives from both sides, they can start their work. One of the conditions of the last CRA was to create an economic advisory group with representatives from Palau and the US side, to help provide economic advice to ensure the country reaches its economic objectives.