Friday, July 18, 2014

Micronesian Presidents meet in Pohnpei ahead of the 8th Micronesian Games

left to right: President Loeak, RMI; President Mori, FSM; President Remengesau, Palau; MPS opening meeting in Pohnpei

FSMIS (July 18, 2014):  Three days ahead of the opening of the 8th Micronesian Games in Pohnpei, the Micronesian Presidents' Summit (MPS) opened its session yesterday, July 17, at the Pacific Mission Aviation Auditorium in Kolonia, Pohnpei.

As an annual event, the MPS brings together the Presidents of the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) and the Republic of Palau (Palau) to jointly address common concerns and advance mutual interests in the spirit of Micronesian solidarity refined through shared culture, political history, and economic aspirations.

The event started with a formal welcome by Governor John Ehsa of the State of Pohnpei, followed by the opening remarks by FSM President Manny Mori. President Mori welcomed his Peers and thanked all who played a part in making the meeting possible. Among the highlights he directed attention to, President Mori noted advancements collectively made in the management of fisheries within the Micronesian region. However, he underscored that collectively, the three governments should find ways to increase their benefit as fish-stock owners in an industry with a net worth estimated at around 7 billion.

RMI President Christopher Loeak, accompanied by the RMI First Lady, Minister of Foreign Affairs Tony Debrum and a few staff, also welcomed the opportune time for such gathering. At the end of his remarks, President Loeak noted that this would be President Mori's last MPS as FSM President and expressed his gratitude to President Mori for his leadership and guidance throughout the MPS processes.

President Tommy Remengesau Jr. emphasized his Government's support of the regional endeavors that the President have been facilitating, especially in terms of environmental conservation collaborations, such as the Micronesian Challenge, and resource management and protection. He also echoed President Loeak's words of appreciation to President Mori for his steadfastness in pursuing the interests of the Micronesian region through the MPS system as well as the regional and international leadership mechanisms. President Remengesau said the Micronesian nations should ensure that their agendas are well addressed at the upcoming Pacific Islands Forum to be held in Palau early August and the Third Small Island Developing States Conference in Samoa this coming September.

The opening meeting was attended by FSM Vice President Alik L. Alik, the Diplomatic Corp, Cabinet and staff of the three Governments, and  some community members.  

The meeting agenda included some presentations on the FSM-Palau fiber optic connectivity project, un update on air transportation project for the FSM, un update on Palau's marine surveillance and patrol program upgrading, and review of progress made in climate change negotiations towards a binding framework for mitigations of disasters -- presented by the Marshall Islands.  

The Presidents are having a retreat today on Ant Atoll. It is at such "sit-together" that sensitive issues and other pressing matters are chipped and shaped to build consensus, conformity and commitment.

It is expected that the President will endorse the MPS meeting outcome document tonight at a closing dinner reception at the Cupid Bar and Grill.

A report on the meeting outcomes will be forthcoming.

For more information, email fsmpio@mail.fm.
           

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

FSM Telecommunications Connectivity Project Moving Forward


FSM TC&I (July 16, 2014): President Mori updated the FSM Congress on recent developments in the FSM Telecommunications Connectivity Project, including availability of financing and 2014 timelines.

 It was erroneously reported in the July 14, 2014 edition of the Kaselehlie Press that the FSM Congress overrode the President’s veto of C.A. 18-75, popularly known as the moratorium on implementation of the FSM Telecommunications Act of 2014.  The fact is, Congress did not override the veto.  FSM’s liberalized telecommunications law continues to be effective and ready for immediate implementation, and the President’s efforts to secure funding for that implementation have been successful.

 On July 9, the World Bank formally informed the President that it can confirm the availability of up to US $51 million in grant financing for FSM’s portion of the Palau-FSM Connectivity Project.  This grant would fund 100% of the FSM’s share of a proposed Palau-Yap-Guam fiber optic cable, as well as fund 100% of a fiber optic cable connecting the islands of Weno and Satowan in the State of Chuuk to the existing Pohnpei fiber optic cable.  In addition, the grant would subsidize next-generation O3B satellite connectivity for the State of Kosrae for five years. 

 The World Bank proposes to secure formal Board approval for the project by November 30, 2014.  In order to meet that deadline, both FSM and the Republic of Palau will have to meet key project milestones, including finalizing the project design, recruitment of a project manager for the Palau-Yap-Guam portion of the project, and completion of the environmental and social safeguards work.  President Mori informed Congress that FSM’s Telecommunications Task Force and the Micro-Pal Fiber Optic Joint Committee, which contains members from both the Palau and FSM governments, have been diligently working to meet these milestones.

 In addition to the funds for infrastructure improvements for Chuuk, Kosrae, and Yap, additional grant money will be available for project management and for technical assistance.  The technical assistance money will assist the FSM in transitioning to a modern, liberalized telecommunications environment in line with the FSM’s Telecommunications Policy, and the legal framework provided for in the FSM Telecommunications Act of 2014.  The goal of the liberalized telecommunications environment is better service, including broadband internet services, and lower prices for consumers in the FSM.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Secretary Robert and Chief of Staff Falcam update President Mori on Micronesian Presidents' Summit matters

FSMIS (July 15, 2014): Federated States of Micronesia President Manny Mori had a briefing meeting this morning by the Secretary of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Lorin Robert, Chief of Staff Leo Falcam Jr., and two Foreign Affairs Department staff members: Mr. Carl Apis and Mrs. Shanty Sigrah.
 
The meeting covered updates on key aspects of the preparation for the Micronesian Presidents Summit (MPS), which will take place on July 17 and 18 at the Pacific Missionary Aviation Auditorium in Kolonia, Pohnpei.
 
The President of the Republic of the Marshall Islands, His Excellency Christopher Loeak, arrived in Pohnpei earlier today.
 
His Excellency President Tommy Remengesau Jr. is expected to arrive tomorrow, July 16th.  
 
The main discussion focus for the meeting will be fully fleshed out by a group of selected high ranking officials from the three governments when they hold an "officials' session" on Thursday morning ahead of the main plenary for the Presidents. However, there is interest to include on the agenda common concerns relating to fisheries, maritime surveillance practices, Trafficking in Persons (Human Trafficking), and air transportation issues, among others.
 
A part of the Presidents' meeting also includes a three hour retreat on Ant Islet on July 18th, where the Presidents may want to hash out more sensitive issues amongst themselves in a less structured and more exclusive manner.
 
About a year ago, the Presidents agreed to hold their meeting immediately before the opening of the 8th Micronesian Games in the FSM State of Pohnpei in order to take part in the important region-wide undertaking.
 
For more information of the MPS, contact the Department of Foreign Affairs at 320-2641 or email fsmpio@mail.fm.

Apostolic Nuncio Archbishop Krebs speaks at his presentation of credentials in FSM, July 11, 2014

Archbishop Martin Krebs making his remarks at the occasion of his presentation of credentials to Federated States of Micronesia President Manny Mori at the President's Office in Palikir, Pohnpei.

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Monday, July 14, 2014

Archbishop Krebs presents credentials to President Mori as Apostolic Nuncio to the FSM


from left: President Mori, First Lady Emma Nelson Mori and Archbishop Krebs at the President's Conference Room after the conclusion of the Archbishop's presentation of credentials ceremony
FSMIS (July 14, 2014): On July 11, FSM President Manny Mori received credentials from Archbishop Martin Krebs at the President's Office, accrediting the Archbishop as the Apostolic Nuncio of Pope Francis and the Holy See to the Federated States of Micronesia.

President Mori welcomed Archbishop Krebs in his capacity as the Vatican's "Ambassador" in the FSM and expressed his appreciation to Pope Francis for concluding the appointment, an indication of the strong ties between the Holy See and the FSM.

In addition, President Mori took the opportunity to express appreciation to the Pope in recognition of the tremendous support the Catholic Church in Micronesia has played over the years in various socio-economic development ministries and engagements, especial in the areas of education, health and social justice.

Archbishop Krebs extended greetings from the Pope and thanked President Mori for the warm welcome and reception extended to him by the FSM Government upon his arrival.

The Archbishop said he looked forward to working very closely with the FSM and the other ten Oceania countries with which he holds "Ambassadorial" duties.

He also spoke of his readiness to collaborate especially in areas where the Pacific countries might need the Church to speak in support of their cause at the global scene.   

The Archbishop also indicated anticipation to attending the Third International Conference on the Small Islands Developing States (SIDS) in Samoa in September, 2014, which President Mori is also preparing to attend.

Born November 2, 1956 in Essen, Germany, Martin Krebs became a priest in 1983 and later obtained a doctorate in Canon Law before entering the diplomatic service of the Holy See in 1991.

As shown on the internet, "Archbishop Krebs has wide experience, working in a number of Apostolic Nunciatures in Burundi, Japan, Austria, the Czech Republic, the European Union and the United States of America". In September 2008 he was appointed Apostolic Nuncio in Guinea and Mali, two months before he was ordained Archbishop in November.

Archbishop Krebs arrived Pohnpei on July 11. Due to flight delay for his departure, he was able to say mass at the Our Lady of Mercy Church in Kolonia on Sunday morning before he left for Guam very late in the evening.

The new Nuncio replaces Archbishop Balvo who has been appointed to Kenya.

The FSM and the Holy See established diplomatic ties in 1994.