Friday, December 19, 2014

Working Visit by President Mori

President Manny Mori with Israel Prime Minister Netanyahu

President Mori and his delegation arrived in Tel Aviv on the morning of November 30 to begin a five-day working visit in Israel to strengthen the relations between Israel and FSM and seek technical assistance to address food security and improve FSM’s economic performance. Traveling with the President were First Lady Emma S. Mori, FSM Vice Speaker Paliknoa Welly and Mrs. Shrue Welly, Secretary of Foreign Affairs Lorin Robert, Director of Office of Environment and Emergency Management Andrew Yatilman, Ambassador to USA Asterio Takesy, Department of Resources and Development Trade Adviser Roger Mori, Chuuk Legislature Speaker Innocenti Oneisom, and Chuuk State Chief Justice Camillo Noket.

Straight after lunch, President and his delegation met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his senior staff and advisers at the latter’s conference room that lasted more than forty minutes. He was quite effusive in his expression of welcome to President Mori and his delegation. “I am so happy to welcome you, Mr. President and your entire delegation to Israel. I am very pleased and gratified with the long relationship between Israel and your country. Our countries are physically very far apart but our hearts are very close,” said Netanyahu. “We want to renew and strengthen our long historical relations based 
on shared values, but we look more to the future,” he added.

President Mori thanked Netanyahu for the warm welcome and introduced members of his delegation and congratulated Netanyahu for his many achievements that have contributed to the welfare of the people of Israel. “I am very proud of my government’s steadfast support for Israel, especially at the United Nations. This continued support is based on Judeo-Christian traditions and our common values; furthermore, Israel was among the first country in the Middle-East to recognize FSM after independence,” said President Mori. “I have met with the Jews Committee in the United States every year to solidify our mutual relations with the United States. FSM will continue to support Israel,” he added.

Mori stated that FSM is putting together an action plan for 2023 that calls for tax reform, cost-saving measures, and improved economic performance as Compact financial grants and certain economic assistance are set to end in 2023. Furthermore, the FSM Compact Trust Fund’s interest earning in 2023 is forecasted to be $45-$50 million short of the projected budget for 2024. FSM therefore is looking to Israel for an independent evaluation of the action plan and technical assistance in FSM’s priority areas of development: agriculture, fisheries, tourism and renewable energy, given Israel’s advance technology and expertise in the areas.

“We can dispatch technical people---we should consult closely on putting an appropriate team. We are prepared to put together a program to help you through this team. Water management is a good example of using technology and expertise for development. What I want to do is to send a team out to look at the relevant areas we can help you with. We are used to doing more with less,” Prime Minister responded.

Israel arranged for guided tours for the President’s delegation of important historical, cultural and sacred sites to broaden understanding and deepen appreciation of common values and Judeo-Christian tradition.

The delegation visited Netiv Haasara settlement located a few hundred yards from the Gaza Strip wall as well as selected areas along the Golan Heights to acquaint themselves first-hand of the constant thread people living in such areas have been facing.

On the travel north to the Sea of Galilee, the group toured the largest water facility in the country, Eshkol to witness first hand application of technology to water management. Eshkol supplies the entire country with all of its fresh water needs.

Visits to two kibbutzims gave the delegation close up observation of the application of high-tech to modern management of diary and vegetable farming. They were given guided tours of the plant laboratory, nursery and banana farm where they were briefed in details of management and product quality control methods. The water system for the banana farm impressed the delegation to no end as it was totally computer control and divvied out through synthetic membrane tubes.
President Reuven Rivlin highlighted the Working Visit with a brief welcoming ceremony at the President Official Residence during which President Mori reciprocated by offering a symbolic present of two coconut fiber sennit bundles. Before handing them over to Rivlin, Mori tied them together and said, “These ropes symbolize the strong bond of friendship between Israel and FSM.  This kind of rope is made from coconut fiber and it is used for building houses and ocean-voyaging canoes in FSM---they bind us together.” President Rivlin and Mrs. Rivlin then proceeded to host President Mori and Mrs. Mori to an official lunch that was attended by senior Israel officials, including Israeli’s non-resident Ambassador to the FSM Michael Ronen. Vice Speaker Welly and Mrs. Welly, Secretary Robert, and Ambassador Takesy accompanied President Mori.

“I am very, very happy to welcome Your Excellency, President Mori and Mrs. Mori, along with Vice Speaker Welly and Mrs. Welly, Secretary Robert and Ambassador Takesy. Israel is very grateful to you, Mr. President for your country’s strong and continued support for Israel”, said President Rivlin. He went on to point out he was aware of and deeply appreciated the fact that FSM’s steadfast support for his country has put the FSM in tenuous position at times, in particular at the United Nations, where FSM has consistently supported Israel since joining the world body.

President Mori and his delegation departed Tel Aviv on the morning of December 5 for Newark, ending his working visit.

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