Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne Meets with Palau President Tommy Remengesau
WASHINGTON, D.C., February 25, 2008 - Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne received a visit from the President of the Republic of Palau Tommy Remengesau on Feb. 25, 2008. They discussed a number of topics, including the possibility of creating a National Heritage Area on Peleliu to commemorate that important World War II battle and the upcoming Review of the Compact of Free Association.
The Secretary thanked President Remengesau for Palau's continued support in the War on Terror and for all the Palauan citizens who continue to join the U.S. military. President Remengesau stressed the importance of security and stability in Palau, the importance of the relationship between Palau and the United States and how proud their young men and women are to serve. Chief of Staff Billy Kuartei pointed out that Palau is officially an Induction Ceremony Center for enlistees from Palau and nearby Yap and that this was done for a reason: so that families and the Palauan public could participate in these ceremonies and be proud of their service. The President has a nephew serving and Palau's Ambassador to the U.S. has a son and daughter who served in Iraq. Even the Secretary has a son-in-law who is soon to be deployed to the Middle East. "We are all in this together," said the Secretary, "and that is why we have to be strong."
Secretary Kempthorne congratulated Remengesau on being honored and recognized last October as one of Time Magazine’s Heroes of the Environment. They reminisced about their road trip last year on the Babeldaob road, which they both took on Harleys and in some areas rode through the pouring rain. The U.S.-built Babeldaob road was officially opened on October 1, 2007. “Since the road was opened, we have had an increase in housing and business applications…our forefathers had a vision for Babeldaob, but we needed a road and now thanks to the U.S. we have that.” President Remengesau told the Secretary.