President Surangel Whipps Jr. departs this Wednesday to Washington D.C. to testify in front of the US Congress on the Compact of Free Association and the COFA Review Agreement currently before them.
Palau’s Compact Review Advisory Group concluded the negotiation with the United States, resulting in the Agreement initialed on May 17, 2023, and signed on May 23, 2023, by Palau’s Chief Representative Kaleb Udui Jr. and the United States Special Presidential Envoy Joseph Yun.
The Agreement incorporates an $890 million financial package covering 20 years, with the first $90 million to be issued a year earlier, this October 2023. The Thirtieth Year Anniversary Compact Review is set to conclude in 2024, but the Negotiating Team had requested financial assistance a year early to help Palau’s economic recovery after the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It’s critical the US Congress pass the $90 million this year,” said Whipps, adding, “If not passed, it will have a great impact on us.”
President Whipps had requested OEK to support the Agreement. A draft Senate Joint Resolution calling for Palau congress (Olbiil Era Kelulau) to ratify the Agreement was submitted to Senate and assigned to Senate JGA Committee.
“It is important to show to the United States that this is important to us,” Whipps said of the congress resolution approving the Agreement.
It is not yet certain if OEK will approve the Joint Resolution before President Whipps’ departure on Wednesday.