The Marshall Islands (RMI) extended a warm welcome to U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Kurt M. Campbell, U.S. Pacific Fleet Commander Admiral Patrick M. Walsh, U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Assistant Administrator Nisha Biswal and Marine Brigadier General Richard Simcock, who arrived late last night. The final destination in an eight-country whirlwind tour, the Marshall Islands, has long been a key ally in the region, and the group was welcomed by Foreign Affairs officials at the airport before arriving at the Ambassador's residence for a brief meeting with embassy officials.
Early this morning, His Excellency President Jurelang Zedkaia hosted a breakfast meeting for the distinguished guests and key RMI cabinet officials. The discussion centered on strengthening RMI-U.S. cooperation, particularly in the areas of climate change and economic development. Assistant Secretary Campbell announced at the meeting a grant to fund a new Climate Change Advisor for the Marshall Islands. The position, funded through the Office of Oceans and International Environmental and Science Affairs, will enable the Marshall Islands government to better coordinate their efforts in adapting to the consequences of climate change in this vulnerable atoll nation. President Zedkaia gratefully acknowledged the funding and repeated his country's continuing alliance with the United States on a wide variety of issues.
Before departing for the airport, the contingent stopped at the U.S. Embassy to show their gratitude to Marshallese veterans who have served in the U.S. military around the world and family members of active duty service men and women. About 50 local Marshallese attended the event, and Assistant Secretary Campbell and Admiral Walsh thanked them for their service and sacrifice.
While at the embassy, Assistant Secretary Campbell presented a grant for $20,000 to the Women's United Together Marshall Islands (WUTMI) to help fund a summer conference for women leaders in the Marshall Islands. The conference will bring women from all the outer atolls to Majuro to participate in a series of workshops and seminars designed to strengthen the role of women in the local economy. Executive Director Daisy Momotaro accepted the award on behalf of WUTMI and thanked Assistant Secretary Campbell for helping make the conference a reality.
Although the party only stayed in Majuro a short sixteen hours, the visit was productive and underscored the close and enduring relationship between the RMI and the United States. This quick visit reenergized the RMI's focus on climate change mitigation, provided the resources to empower women, and affirmed the valued role of Marshallese serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.
Posted July 2, 2011 by Andrew J. Zvirzdin who serves as Political and Economic Officer and Vice-Consul at the U.S. Embassy in Majuro, Republic of the Marshall Islands.
- Dipnote , U.S. Department of State Official Blog, July 4, 2011