Monday, May 26, 2014

FSM Hosts the 2014 Mid-Year Review of the Joint Committee Meeting with the United States of America

Palikir, POHNPEI (FSM Information Services) – On Friday May 16th, the Federated States of Micronesia hosted the annual Mid-Year Review of Joint Committee Meeting (JCM) with the United States of America dealing with security and defense issues, as provided under Title III of the Amended Compact of Free-Association. The meeting was held at the Office of Environment and Emergency Management in Palikir and was attended by high-level officials from both Governments. FSM Ambassador to the United States Asterio Takesy, and the Deputy Chief of Mission of the US Embassy in Pohnpei, Miguel Ordonez, headed the respective delegations.

As with previous JCM Review meetings, the main objectives were to review updates on the implementation of agenda items agreed to during the last JCM held in the State of Yap and consider other issues to be discussed at the main JCM to be held in Honolulu later this year.
The meeting started in the morning of the 16th with a wreath-laying ceremony held at the Pohnpei International Airport to commemorate and honor those FSM citizens who have paid the ultimate sacrifice while in the service of the US Armed Forces. Laying the wreaths on behalf of the FSM was Ambassador Asterio Takesy. Lieutenant Governor Marcelo Peterson participated on behalf of the State of Pohnpei while Mr. Benito Cantero represented the FSM Association for Veterans' Affairs. Deputy Chief of Mission Miguel Ordonez and Captain Mark H. Scovill, Chief of Staff of the Joint Region Marianas, represented the United States Government.

The JCM Mid-Year Review meeting commenced in Palikir with an official segment providing opportunities for delivery of remarks by respective heads of delegations. Ambassador Takesy affirmed the importance of the Title III to the relationship between the FSM and the United States and confirmed FSM’s continuing commitment to the principles of the provision. He also conveyed gratitude for the successful consideration of Mr. Michael Saimon to the prestigious US Naval Academy at Anapolis. Ambassador Takesy also called for a moment of silence in honor of US Army Sergeant Bernard Boichan of the State of Yap who passed away on April 29, 2014 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

Subsequent to the brief opening ceremony, Ambassador Takesy assumed the chairmanship of the meeting. Among the issues considered were the Shiprider Agreement between the FSM and US. Both parties acknowledged the successful signing of the Agreement in March of 2014 and the Construction Civic Action Detail (CCAD) program which continues to provide needed rehabilitation and renovation work for community infrastructures projects. Updates on efforts to improve the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) Testing and strengthen law enforcement cooperation were also undertaken. In addition, a review of procedural improvement with respect to access of foreign military aircraft and research vessels into the FSM were also undertaken. As a standard item of discussion in the JCM process, updates on the military build-up in Guam were also provided as well as actual work being undertaken by the transnational crime unit (TCU) and the Sasakawa Peace Foundation surveillance assistance program, both of which support FSM's overall maritime security. Aside from the core JCM action items, updates were also tabled with respect to infrastructure projects submitted for consideration under the Humanitarian Assistance Federated States of Micronesia (HA-FSM) program, as well as material and equipment requests submitted under the US Excess Property scheme.

Along with appropriate staff, the FSM delegates to the meeting included Secretary April Dawn Skilling of the Department of Justice, Secretary Francis Itimai of the Department of Transportation, Communications and Infrastructure, Deputy Secretary Samson Pretrick of Foreign Affairs, the FSM Consul Generals in Guam, Mr.  Robert Ruecho, and the FSM Consul General in Hawaii, Mr. Kandhi Elieisar. Other State representatives included Lt. Governor Marius J. Akapito of the State of Chuuk, Mr. Pius Talemesei, Director of Budget and Mr. Vincent Figir, Director of Public Works and Transportation, of the State of Yap.

The US delegation included Captain Mark H. Scovill, Chief of Staff of the Joint Region Marianas, Mr. Dave DeLeo, Compact Nations Country Director of USPACOM, Mr. Roy Tsutsui, Senior Political & Military Advisor of the Joint Region Marianas, and Mrs. Lynn Pangelinan of the US Embassy in Kolonia.

The next JCM will be hosted by the United States in Honolulu. Consultation will be undertaken to determine mutually acceptable dates. 

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