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Marshall Islands and United States officials yesterday in Majuro signed a protocol supporting the Republic's maritime security.
RMI Foreign Minister Phillip Muller and US Ambassador Thomas Armbruster signed the agreement which serves to expand the types of law enforcement vessels and cooperation in surveillance and interdiction activities.
A presidential delegation attended the dedication ceremony of the Captain Louis Zamperini Dining Facility hosted by the United States Army Garrison-Kwajalein Atoll (USAG-KA) on January 16. Republic of the Marshall Islands' President Christopher J. Loeak joined Commanding General Richard P. Formica and Command Sgt. Maj. Larry S. Turner, from USASMDC/ARSTRAT headquarters, in unveiling the plaque and mural in honor of the former Olympian and WWII bombadier who was imprisioned on Kwajalein.
Marshall Islands President Christopher J. Loeak, joined by Cabinet Ministers, met with US Assistant Secretary of East Asian and Pacific Islands Affairs, Mr. Kurt Campbell, and delegation at the Cabinet Conference Room on August 2nd, 2012. Assistant Secretary Campbell's visit to the Marshall Islands was part of his eight days Pacific Islands tour to seven Pacific Island nations which include the Republic of Kiribati, Tonga, Samoa, the Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea, the Republic of Palau, and the Federated States of Micronesia.
Thomas Armbruster, Ambassador-Designate to the Republic of the Marshall Islands, appeared yesterday before the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee to give statement about his nomination by President Barack Obama on May 11. Armbruster, a foreign service officer for the US State Department since 1988, most recently served as Consul General in Vladivostok, Russia. Regarding his upcoming assignment in the Marshall Islands, Armbruster said,“The Marshallese are great Pacific navigators and I’m sure we can chart a course together.”
The federal government will develop a plan to address the economic impact Compact of Free Association (COFA) Migrants are having on Hawaii’s economy and develop a plan to mitigate the burden for the state, Senator Daniel K. Inouye, Senator Daniel K. Akaka, U.S. Representative Mazie K. Hirono and U.S. Representative Colleen Hanabusa announced today.
The Compact of Free Association refers to the legal relationship between the United States and the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of Palau and the Republic of the Marshall Islands.
Cadet 1st Class Jefferson Bobo, the first Marshall Islander to graduate from a U.S. Armed Forces Academy, received his commision and degree today during the U.S. Coast Guard Academy's 130th commencement ceremony in New London, Connecticut.
U.S. President Barack Obama, in his keynote address before the 229 graduates, families and faculty, acknowledged the Marshallese cadet, one of two international students.
At the conclusion of a meeting in Honolulu last week, United States and Republic of the Marshall Islands officials produced a joint statement, dated February 25, 2011, regarding the ongoing fraud investigation and criminal cases in the Marshall Islands involving US federal funds. The RMI President's Office released the statement on its website on March 4, which follows in English and Marshallese:
Delegations representing the Government of the Marshall Islands and Government of the United States met in Honolulu, Hawaii on Wednesday, February 23, 2011, concerning the ongoing fraud investigation and criminal cases involving US federal funds.
A panel of U.S. officials told the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Asia, the Pacific and the Global Environment that the United States and the Marshall Islands have a close and special relationship. According to testimony, the Executive Branch continues in its determination that the 1986 Compact of Free Association "settled all claims, past, present and future, of the government and citizens of the Marshall Islands which are based upon, arise out of or are in any way related to the U.S. nuclear weapons testing program."
Testifying at the May 20, 2010 hearing were representatives of the U.S.Department of State, Department of Interior's Office of Insular Affairs, Department of Energy, and Army Space and Missile Defense Command.
- Frankie Reed, Deputy Assistant Secretary for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, U.S. State Department
- Nikolao I. Pula, Director Office of Insular Affairs, U.S. Department of Interior
- Steven Messervy, Ph.D., Deputy to the Commanding General for Research, Development, and Acquisition, U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command
- Glenn S. Podonsky, Chief Health, Safety and Security Officer, Office of Health, Safety and Security, U.S. Department of Energy
Within days of a Compact-designated deadline, the U.S. Government has granted the request of Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) President Litokwa Tomeing to extend the time for the finalization of the Kwajalein Land Use Agreement (LUA) before the funds in escrow, of almost $21 million, revert to the U.S. Treasury.
In the U.S. response to the Marshalls' President, Deputy Assistant Secretary of East Asian and Pacific Affairs Glyn Davies said that the December 17, 2008 deadline was established in the anticipation that five years would sufficient the GRMI to conclude the relevant agreement.
"As it appears from your letter that negotiations with the land owners are ongoing but not yet concluded, the United States is willing to agree to an extension to give your government more time to conclude an LUA that reflects the terms of the MUORA," he wrote, on behalf of President Bush.
The former U.S. head negotiator for the Compact of Free Association between the U.S. and the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI), serving 2001 to 2003, jumped back into the political limelight today with an op-ed to the Washington Times about the small Pacific nation.
"The United States needs to understand recent political developments in the RMI, the viability of its base at Kwajalein and the future of our bilateral free-association relationship with RMI could well hang in the balance."
- Opening for Beijing? Basing rights in Marshall Islands - Washington Times Op-Ed by Albert V. Short
A bill, which shifts primary responsibility for provision of disaster assistance for the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) and the Federated States of Micronsia (FSM) from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID, was passed by the U.S. House this week. The legislation, if approved by the full Congress, will clarify legal services to the Freely Associated citizens residing in the United States, restore access to the transmission of videotaped programming, and make technical amendments to the 2003 Compact, Amended.
The "Compacts of Free Association Amendments Act of 2007," approved by voice vote, was received by the Senate on November 14, read twice, and placed on Senate Legislative Calendar under General Orders. A related bill, S.283, which cleared The Senate Energy Committee last February, has yet to be considered.
A full committee hearing of the U.S. Senate Energy Committee today received testimony on S. 1756, a bill to provide supplemental ex gratia compensation to the Republic of the Marshall Islands for impacts of the nuclear testing program of the United States, and other purposes.
WITNESSES FOR THE REPUBLIC OF THE MARSHALL ISLANDS:
- Testimony of Republic of the Marshall Islands Minister Witten Philippo Senate Energy Committee Hearing
- Senate Energy Committee Hearing: Testimony of Jonathan M. Weisgall, on behalf of Four Atolls
WITNESSES FOR THE UNITED STATES:
Senator Tony A. deBrum, member of Republic of the Marshall Islands Parliament (Nitijela) for Kwajalein, appeared before the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Sub-Committee on Asia, the Pacific, and the Global Environment hearing on July 25, 2007. He briefed the Committee on the current situation regarding Kwajalein. His written statement follows:
Thank you, Mr. Chairman for inviting us to this hearing. With me today, representing the people of Kwajalein are Iroij Senator Christopher Loeak, Chairman of the Kwajalein Leadership Group and Senator Jeban Riklon, my fellow Senator from Kwajalein. We bring you greetings and best wishes from Iroijlaplap Imata Kabua, Iroijlaplap Anjua Loeak, Iroij Senator Michael Kabua and the elders and people of Kwajalein.
The importance of Kwajalein to the relationship between our countries is well known to this committee. As allies and good friends of America from the ending years of World War II, the people of Kwajalien have been called upon to support the United States Armed Forces by providing their atoll, first as a naval air station, then as the support base for the testing of nuclear weapons.
On July 24, David B. Gootnick, Director International Affairs and Trade of the United States Government Accountability Office, gave testimony before a House Sub-committee on the “Implementation of the Compact of Free Association between the United States and the Republic of the Marshall Islands.”
Gootnick will testify with the same statement, "Implementation Activities Have Progressed, but the Marshall Islands Faces Challenges to Achieving Long-Term Compact Goals," on July 25 before the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Asia, The Pacific, and The Global Environment.
On July 24, the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) Foreign Minister Gerald Zackios gave testimony before a House Sub-committee on the “Implementation of the Compact of Free Association between the United States and the Republic of the Marshall Islands.”
On July 24, the U.S. Interior's Deputy Assistant Secretary David Cohen gave testimony before a House Sub-committee on the “Implementation of the Compact of Free Association between the United States and the Republic of the Marshall Islands.”
Last Friday, with the publication of a report on compact trust funds, the United States General Accountability Office (GAO) completed its planned work that marks three years of compact implementation. According to a GAO official, the agency will be next due to report on the status of 2003 amended compact between the U.S. and the two Freely Associated States, the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) and the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI), in 2011.
The new report, "Compacts of Free Association: Trust Funds for Micronesia and the Marshall Islands May Not Provide Sustainable Income," issued June 15, 2007, is the fifth in a series since July of 2005. The GAO has found accountability problems, sustainability challenges, and limited development prospects facing the two Pacific nations. Market volatility, in addition to the investment strategies chosen, may lead to a wide range of trust fund balances at the close of grant funding in 2023, states the GAO.
The U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources issued a report last month recommending a bill amending the Compact of Free Association Amendments Act of 2003 to be passed. The bill, S. 283, was introduced by Committee Chairman Jeff Bingaman [D-NM] on January 12, 2007, co-sponsored by Ranking Committee Member Pete Domenici [R-NM]. Bingaman said it was unfortunate that, last year, the Senate passage of an identical bill, was delayed leaving insufficient time for enactment.
The bill's purpose is to approve subsidiary agreements and make conforming, clarifying, and technical amendments relating to disaster assistance and continued eligibility for certain education programs.
The following was considered in the 109th Congress under Bill S. 1830, and is again being considered in current session the 110th Congress under Bill S. 283 which relates to approval of subsidiary agreements and conforming, clarifying, and technical amendments to the 2003 Compacts of Free Association with the Republic of the Marshall Islands and the Federated States of Micronesia, as well as to agreements with Palau.
Compacts of Free Association Amendments Act of 2007 - Amends the Compact of Free Association Amendments Act of 2003 with respect to: (1) the provision of emergency and disaster assistance through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to the Federated States of Micronesia and the Republic of the Marshall Islands; (2) Palau; and (3) the continuation of legal services to the citizens of the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of Palau, and the Republic of the Marshall Islands residing in the United States (including territories and possessions).
In compliance with paragraph 12 of rule XXVI of the Standing Rules of the Senate, changes in existing law made by the bill S. 1830, as ordered reported, are shown as follows (existing law proposed to be omitted is enclosed in black brackets, new matter is printed in italic, existing law in which no change is proposed is shown in roman):
On January 12, 2006, the RMI Cabinet approved the newest revisions to USAKA’s environmental oversight regulations, called the “USAKA Environmental Standards.” The approval followed a briefing to the Cabinet on the revisions, introduced by U.S. Ambassador Morris and presented by the UES Project Team Co-Chairs, Randy Gallien of the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command and John McCarroll of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
New school buildings were dedicated and christened in Majuro, the capital atoll of the Republic Marshall Islands (RMI), last Tuesday. The construction at Rita Public Elementary School was the the first Capital Improvement Project funded by the Amended Compact of Free Association with the United States. Remarks were given by RMI President Kessai H. Note, Minister of Education Wilfred Kendall, Kenneth Kramer of Pacific International Inc. (PII), the Acting Majuro Mayor, and Father Rich McAuliff, who blessed the facility.
The ceremony also included remarks by the United States Ambassador to the Marshall Islands Greta Morris. "I hope these beautiful facilities will bring out the very best in each of you," she said. The entire text of the Ambassador's statement follows:
The US Senate Energy Committee heard testimony Tuesday in support of territories-related issues, including legislation which aims to confirm the US Federal Emergency Management Agency's role in disaster assistance for the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) and Federated States of Micronesia (FSM). Senate Bill 1830 deals with one of several issues that were not addressed when Congress enacted the Compact, as amended, in 2003.
In written testimony submitted to the hearing, RMI Ambassador to the US, Banny deBrum, took the opportunity to raise a few other issues of concern to the Marshall Islands and request that these issues be addressed in the pending legislation.
READ: Written Testimony of Ambassador deBrum to the Senate Hearing
For the second time this year, a US Senate Committee will receive testimonies regarding US commitments to the Republic of the Marshall Islands. The hearing of the Energy and Resources Committee, scheduled for October 25, will consider amendments to the Compact of Free Association Amendments Act of 2003 (CFAAA).
Committee Chairman Pete V. Domenici, who introduced Senate Bill 1830 on October 6, said several issues were left unresolved because of the 2003 deadline on the term of the original Compact assistance, including the question of FEMA disaster assistance for the Freely Associated States. The continued role of FEMA had been a highly contentious issue during the Compact negotiations, according to RMI's Compact negotiators.
International rate schedules will be used for mail destined to the Republic of the Marshall Islands and the Federated States of Micronesia. The proposed rule was posted in the United States Federal Register on September 15. As provided in the agreement within the Compact of Free Association negotiated between the US and the two former Trust Territories, international rates will be phased in over a period of not less than five years, beginning no sooner than 2006.
As a first step, for international services with domestic equivalents, rates will be phased in using the difference between the domestic rates and the international rates.
OF THE FEDERATED STATES OF MICRONESIA AND THE REPUBLIC OF THE MARSHALL ISLANDS
February 11, 2005
Background: The Compact of Free Association Act of 1985 (Public Law 99-239) set forth a joint resolution between the United States and the Republic of the Marshall Islands and the Federated States of Micronesia (RMI/FSM) regarding the termination of the U.S. trusteeship over the former Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands (TTPI). The resolution further established the FSM and the RMI as independent nations, and established a special relationship between the United States and these nations. The Compact of Free Association between the United States and the RMI took effect on October 21, 1986, and the Compact of Free Association between the United States and the FSM took effect on November 3, 1986.