Acting Interior Assistant Secretary for Insular Areas Nikolao Pula has authorised grant payments totaling US$7,542,690 to Palau.
Continuing appropriations provided by the U.S. Congress thus far for fiscal year 2017 will support operational activities for the Palau government. Since the financial provisions of the Compact of Free Association expired in 2009, an annual amount of US$13,147,000 has been extended to Palau beginning in 2010.
“The U.S.-Palau relationship is grounded in shared history, friendship, and a strong partnership in national security, especially with respect to the Asia-Pacific region,” said Acting Assistant Secretary Pula. “Along with the State and Defense Departments, we will continue to work with the Congress under current budgetary rules to advocate for ratification and extension of financial assistance to Palau as agreed to bilaterally in the Compact Review Agreement of 2010. Ratifying the agreement would continue to bolster realised goals in Palau of self-governance and democracy as well as bolster progress and maintain stability in the region.”
The Compact, U.S. Public Law 99-658, embodies the unique and special relationship that exists between the United States and Palau and has been the basis for providing annual grant funding to support Palau in advancing the well-being of its people. Under the Compact, Palauan citizens may also be admitted to the United States to reside, work and study without a visa as legal nonimmigrants. The Compact conversely provides U.S. military forces full authority and responsibility for security and defense matters in or relating to Palau and denial rights to foreign access in the Western Pacific region, an important element of U.S. Pacific strategy for defense of the U.S. homeland.
While financial grant assistance provisions of the U.S.-Palau Compact expired on September 30, 2009, the Department of the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2010 (P.L. 111-88 Sec. 122) and subsequent discretionary appropriations have continued to extend economic assistance to Palau. The U.S.-Palau relationship under the Compact continues in perpetuity until mutually terminated. MARIANAS VARIETY/PACNEWS [/restrict]