WASHINGTON – U.S. Department of the Interior Assistant Secretary for Insular and International Affairs Carmen G. Cantor today completed her first official visit to the Republic of Palau where she met with island leaders and emphasized the agency’s commitment to the people of the island nation.
“I am here to emphasize our commitment to the relationship that we share under the Compact of Free Association on behalf of the Department of the Interior,” said Assistant Secretary Cantor. “We remain committed to supporting communities in Palau, as evidenced by the recent inaugural meeting of the Palau Economic Advisory Group.”
Assistant Secretary Cantor met with President Surangel Whipps, Jr., to learn firsthand about the successes as well as the challenges facing the people of Palau. She met with U.S. Embassy officials and visited the Ngardok Nature Reserve to learn more about the special partnership for natural resource conservation and protection that Palau shares with the National Park Service.
Assistant Secretary Cantor also visited the Palau National Communications Corporation, a recent recipient of Compact funding support for telecommunications infrastructure security and resiliency, and other important organizations such as the Mechesil Belau (Women of Belau) and the Palau Community College to get a sense of long-term economic sustainability and needs for the resilience of Palau. She spoke with officials who recently contributed to the first meetings of the Economic Advisory Group (EAG) launched last month in Palau. Called for under the Compact of Free Association Section 432 Review Agreement, the EAG was recently established to advise and provide recommendations on how to contribute to the long-term economic sustainability and resilience of Palau. More information about the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Office of Insular Affairs can be found at www.doi.gov/oia.
The Assistant Secretary for Insular and International Affairs and the Office of Insular Affairs (OIA) carry out the Secretary of the Interior’s responsibilities for the U.S. territories of American Samoa, Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Additionally, OIA administers and oversees federal assistance under the Compacts of Free Association to the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, and the Republic of Palau. OIA also administers a discretionary Technical Assistance Program for all the insular areas. Find information about OIA and its work on www.doi.gov/oia, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.