The Secretary General of the South Pacific Forum, the Honorable Ieremia T. Tabai, visited the FSM, January 27-29, 1997. The visit was part of the Forum Secretariat's effort to reach out to its member countries as often as it can to keep members updated on developments within the Secretariat, and to further discuss existing programs and needs of the members.
The German Ambassador to the FSM, His Excellency Karl-Friedrich Gansauer, is slated to visit the FSM February 15-17, 1997, accompanied by his wife Mrs. Gabriele Gansauer. The purpose of the visit is to reacquaint himself with new developments in the FSM since his first visit in August 1994 to present his credentials.
The FSM Embassy in Suva coordinated relief assistance in the amount of F$20,000 from the Forum Disaster Management Office for the State of Yap, which was recently ravaged by Typhoon Fern on December 25, 1996.
The FSM Embassy in Washington D.C. submitted two applications, to be funded under the Operations and Maintenance Improvement Program (OMIP), one is from the State of Kosrae for Building Database Training and Diesel Mechanic Training respectively. Another application under consideration by OMIP was from Pohnpei State in the amount of $285,000 which must be matched by funds from Pohnpei State for the development of a water/sewer utility system.
The FSM Embassy in Washington D.C. continues to work closely with the U.S. Department of the Interior and other relevant U.S. agencies on the Interagency Group to realize a legislative proposal that would, to the extent possible, restore the eligibility of FAS citizens for benefits that were frozen due to the recent welfare reform exercise. The Embassy is also closely monitoring the INS regulations relating to habitual residence in the U.S. or its possessions to minimize its impact on FAS citizens. Related to this issue was a meeting by the Deputy Chief of Mission Ringlen Ringlen and Holly Barker from the RMI Embassy with CNMI representatives to discuss Compact impact issues and to explore ways of strengthening relationships. An informal group has been set up along with Hill staffers from Congressmen Underwood and Faleomavaenga's office to regularize their meetings on these issues.
The FSM Embassy in Washington D.C. sent a condolence message to the RMI Embassy in Washington D.C. on behalf of the FSM Government conveying heartfelt sympathy for the untimely passing of the President of the Republic of the Marshall Islands, His Excellency Amata Kabua, who passed away on December 20, 1996 in Honolulu. The FSM Government sent a delegation headed by Acting President Jacob Nena to attend the funeral ceremonies in the RMI. Accompanying the Acting President were First Lady Lerina, Assistant Secretary Lorin Robert, Postmaster Bethwel Henry, Special Assistant for State and Legislative Affairs John Mangafel and Mr. Suda Rayel from the FSM Congress.
Ambassador Marehalau, DCM Ringlen and Ms. Holly Barker from the RMI Embassy had a meeting with CNMI representatives and Mr. Jerry Facey of the TT Social Security Office/Prior Service at Mr. Facey's request to present his research findings on Prior Service Benefits for many former TT citizens. The Prior Service Benefits Program is designed for those Micronesian citizens who had worked for the government of the TTPI prior to the creation of T.T. Social Security.
FSM Counsel Jim Stovall, in his capacity as Minister in the FSM U.N. Mission, represented the FSM at the Third Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where he delivered a formal statement on behalf of the government stressing the need for small island states to access the Convention's funding mechanism (the Global Environment Facility, or GEF) on an individual country basis in addition to submitting regional projects to SPREP. It was also learned at the meeting that FSM can obtain substantial funding from UNDP for the preparation of its first national report required of parties to the Convention.
The FSM Embassy in Suva has confirmed a request by the Malaysian Government to the Forum Secretary General indicating its interest in becoming a Post-Forum Dialogue Partner, making Malaysia the ninth dialogue partner to the Forum. Malaysia is expected to participate for the first time in the Post-Forum Dialogue in the Cook Islands later this year.
The FSM Embassy in Suva coordinated a visit by a two-member SOPAC team to the State of Kosrae, January 24-27, 1997, to discuss with Kosraean officials possible technical assistance from SOPAC on coastal management and the beach profile study survey on Kosrae completed last year. The team was expected to stop in Pohnpei State to meet with FSM Department of Resources and Development officials to discuss a survey on aggregates in Pohnpei.
The FSM Embassy in Tokyo has confirmed FSM's participation in the Asia-Pacific Children's Convention in Fukuoka '97 later this year. The FSM has been actively involved in the Convention with the State of Yap representing the FSM last year. This year, the State of Kosrae will represent the FSM and information on participation will be forthcoming when available.
Charge d'Affaires James Naich and First Secretary John Fritz of the FSM Embassy in Tokyo met with Oceania and Protocol officials at the Japan Ministry of Foreign Affairs to further pursue discussions on the establishment of an FSM Honorary Consulate in Kansai Region. This is the first time the Protocol Division was involved in the discussion to brief the FSM Embassy Staff on the procedural steps needed to get the consent and approval of the Government of Japan.
CDA/DCM Naich and FS Fritz met with the Director of Grant Aid Division of Economic Cooperation Bureau at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to discuss status of Okar and Ms. Caroline replacement projects, with Mr. Kida, staff-in-charge of the FSM projects sitting in. The Embassy staff were also briefed on the status of the Formulation Study which aimed to assess FSM's infrastructure and fisheries needs.
The Director of the Yap State Department of Education, Mr. Henry Falan, accompanied by Jim Stevenson, participated on behalf of the FSM in the International Symposium held in Tokyo, January 25-26, 1997. The Symposium was organized by the Eco-Club and World School Japan Executive Committee which invited FSM's participation through its Tokyo Embassy, with the aim to address World School project outcomes and to discuss better educational opportunities through interactive communication using electric communication. Fourteen students from Yap will reciprocate the visit by students from World School Japan with a visit to Japan in March.
CDA/FSM Naich and FS Fritz met with businessmen from Tommy Corporation interested in importing taro, especially Sato Imo (taro) from the FSM. The Embassy staff recommended that they visit the FSM.
The FSM Permanent Mission in New York has reported that the new Secretary-General of the United Nations, His Excellency Kofi Annan of Ghana, has assumed duties as the seventh Secretary-General of the United Nations. The Secretary-General intends to establish a competent, experienced and dynamic team focusing on the need for continuing reform of the world body. The former U.N Secretary-General, His Excellency Dr. Boutros Boutros-Ghali, praised the staff of the U.N. for its dedication, integrity, imagination and courage in the performance of their duties; and expressed continuing support to the U.N. in whatever new position he assumes.
The Acting President, H.E. Jacob Nena, sent a congratulatory message to the new President of the Republic of the Marshall Islands, His Excellency Imata Kabua, on his election to his high office. Acting President Nena assured the new President of the RMI of his desire to further strengthen the warm and friendly relations between the two countries based on shared heritage and common values as Micronesians.
A delegation from the People's Republic of China Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Cooperation, headed by Madame Sui, Deputy Director General, visited Pohnpei, February 1-4, 1997, to further discuss the draft umbrella trade agreement between the FSM and PRC.
A course on Managing Marine Emergency will be held in the Netherlands, April 15-18, 1997, to which the FSM Government has nominated Captain Matthias Mangmog. Captain Mangmog is the Manager of Marine Safety and Inspection Branch, FSM Department of Transportation and Communications.
An Asia-Pacific Regional Workshop on Integrated Assessment Modeling of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is scheduled for March 10-12, 1997, at the United Nations University in Tokyo. Messrs. John Mooteb, Sustainable Development Coordinator and Akira Suzuki, General Manager of the FSM Weather Services, will represent the FSM in the meeting.
The FSM Government has granted research permits to three research vessels from Japan with a reminder that a written report in English be provided to the Micronesian Maritime Authority after the completion of the research activities.
The FSM Government has given its consent to the accreditation of the Australian Ambassador to the FSM, His Excellency Perry Head, as non-resident Consul-General to Guam and the CNMI. The arrangement is made to further strengthen the relationship between the two governments with Guam and CNMI.
A "Waste Management Workshop for Small Island Developing States in the Pacific" is scheduled for May 12-16, 1997 in Canberra which the FSM is invited to submit two nominations by February 26, 1997.
A 40th Session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs is slated to take place in Vienna, March 18-27, 1997, which the FSM is invited to submit a nomination for who will be an observer at the meeting.
The FSM is a recipient of an assistance program called International Good Government Program (IGGP) provided by the Government of New Zealand, which will enable the FSM to access funding in the range of NZ $20,000-$30,000 for economic reform projects and related activities. IGGP's objective is to improve governmental accountability with emphasis on the promotion and protection of civil and human rights.
The Acting President, the Honorable Jacob Nena, has been invited by the Premier of the State Council of the People's Republic of China, His Excellency Li Peng, to attend an International Gardening Exposition to be held in China in May 1999. The FSM Government is considering the invitation.
The FSM Government has nominated the Secretary of Transportation and Communications, the Honorable Lukner Weilbacher, to represent the FSM in the Pacific Islands Telecommunications Association's (PITA) inaugural meeting slated to be held in Honolulu on January 18, 1997.