Assistant Secretary Doug Domenech Selected as a U.S. Negotiator for the Compacts of Free Association

4/25/2020
Last edited 9/29/2021

The Department of the Interior applauds the selection of Assistant Secretary for Insular and International Affairs Douglas W. Domenech and Karen B. Stewart, former U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of the Marshall Islands, to serve as the federal negotiators with the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) and the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) to amend their respective Compacts of Free Association and to lead Compact Review discussions with the Republic of Palau.

“I am honored to represent the President of the United States as a co-negotiator alongside Ambassador Stewart in the important government-to-government discussions on the Compacts of Free Association with the FSM, the RMI, and Palau,” said Assistant Secretary Domenech. “These mutually strategic and beneficial Compact partnerships are also manifested in the people-to-people relationships that Americans share with people in the freely associated states, both here in the U.S. and in the Pacific,” continued Domenech. “The Secretary and I recognize the important responsibility that Interior holds as the administrator of Compact funding, and we look forward to the discussions that we will have with each country as we work together to renew the expiring financial provisions of the Compacts.”

“The United States' relationships with the RMI, FSM, and Palau contribute to the stability and prosperity of the Indo-Pacific. I am proud to represent the President and the American people, along with Assistant Secretary Domenech, during these important negotiations,” said Ambassador Stewart.

Background

The three Pacific Island countries, referred to collectively as the freely associated states (FAS), share a unique bilateral relationship with the United States that dates to World War II. On May 21, 2019, in a historic visit at the White House, President Donald J. Trump met with FSM President David W. Panuelo, former RMI President Hilda Heine, and Palau President Tommy R. Remengesau, III. They released a joint statement recognizing the unique, historic, and special relationships shared, and reaffirmed each countries’ respective commitments to the Compacts of Free Association. This was the first time that any FAS President – or all three FAS Presidents – had met with a sitting President at the White House. During that historic visit in May, several members of the Trump Administration, led by the Secretaries of State, Defense, Interior, and Veterans Affairs also welcomed the FAS Presidents in a series of meetings at different federal agencies in Washington, D.C.

Under current law, the financial provisions of the Compact of Free Association agreement (Public Law 108-188) with the FSM and the RMI expire at the end of fiscal year (FY) 2023. Financial provisions available to Palau under its Compact of Free Association (Public Law 99-658, Palau Compact Review Agreement) expire at the end of FY 2024. 

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