Dept. of Foreign Affairs (November 27, 2013): The 2013 Joint Committee Meeting (JCM) between the Federated States of Micronesia and the United States of America was held in Colonia, Yap State in the Federated States of Micronesia on November 19, 2013. The JCM is an annual consultation between the FSM and the US on issues of mutual interest under Title III of the Compact of Free Association relating to security and defense obligations.
Prior to the JCM, on the 17th of November, both delegations from the FSM and US were invited to participate in a traditional ceremony, hosted by Mr. Larry Raigetal, a founder and coordinator of Wa’gay, a non-profit organization aiming to preserve the cultural and traditional practices of the people of the outer islands of Yap. The ceremony ended with an invitation by Mr. Raigetal to a canoe sailing in the Colonia harbor, which some members of the delegations accepted including Ambassador Asterio Takesy as the master navigator.
On the 18th, both the FSM and U.S. delegations paid a courtesy call on Lt. Governor Anthony Tareg, where Lt. Tareg welcomed and thanked the delegations for choosing his great State to be the venue of the JCM. He also conveyed the apologies of Governor Sebastian Anefal who was away on overseas meetings relating to the World Bank’s fiber optic marine cable proposal. Thereafter, both delegations went on a tour of the Construction Civic Action Detail’s (CCAD) project sites in different locations in Yap. The FSM delegation members were pleased in witnessing the good works at the schools. The tour of the CCAD projects in Yap was the primary reason to convene the JCM in Yap to complement the CCAD program.
On the 19th of November, both delegations reconvened at the Yap State Hospital’s conference room for the official opening of the JCM, where FSM Ambassador Takesy facilitated the proceedings. The Secretary of Foreign Affairs Lorin S. Robert delivered a statement thanking the leadership and people of Yap on behalf of President Mori and the leadership of the National Government for being the host State of the JCM. He underscored the central importance of the Title III of the Compact with the US Government and pointed out that while the current Amended Compact has just reached its mid-point, Title III under the original Compact has now reached its twenty-seventh year during which the two sides have enjoyed close working relationship. He went on to convey his best wishes to the US delegation. Ambassador Rosen reciprocated by expressing her appreciation to all the participating officials at the JCM from both sides; she pointed out that Title III of the Amended Compact mandates the US to defend the FSM as if it is one of the fifty states of the United States of America, the highest defense commitment made by the US Government. Ambassador Rosen also highlighted some of the recent engagements between the US and the FSM since the last JCM in Hawaii such as the CCAD and HAFSM programs among others that have been carried out successfully in Yap, Pohnpei and Kosrae States.
The JCM completed its agenda ahead of schedule and reached agreement on most of the items with the Ship-rider issue yet to be resolved, as information from the US side is still forthcoming. The meeting agreed to a matrix of where issues were being monitored for completion.
The FSM delegation members to the 2013 JCM were Secretary Lorin S. Robert, Department of Foreign Affairs, as the Head of Delegation along with Secretary April Dawn Skilling, Department of Justice, His Excellency Asterio Takesy, FSM Ambassador to the US, Assistant Secretary Leo Lokopwe, Department of Transportation, Communications and Infrastructure, Consul General Robert Ruecho, FSM Consulate Office in Guam, Chief of Staff Leo Falcam Jr., President’s Office, Lt. Governor Marcelo Peterson, Pohnpei State, Members of the Yap State Legislature, and other officials from the National and Yap State governments.
Representing the US government were Her Excellency Dorothea Maria Rosen, US Ambassador to the FSM, Rear Admiral Tilghman Payne, US Defense Representative to FSM, Captain Casey White, Commander Coast Guard Sector –Guam, Deputy Chief Ron McNeill, South Asia and Oceania Policy Division – USPACOM, Senior Advisor Roy Tsutsui, US Defense Representative Political – Military Affairs and other officials from the Departments of Defense, Homeland Security and the US Embassy in the FSM.
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