8 Aug 2003

Micronesian Presidents express concern over US demands at Majuro summit

2:41 pm on 8 August 2003

Presidents from three United States-affiliated Pacific nations have "expressed deep concern" about unilateral changes the US is making to already agreed long term funding packages.

At the third Micronesian Presidents Summit in Majuro, Tommy Remengesau of Palau, Joseph Urusemal of the Federated States of Micronesia and Kessai Note of the Marshall Islands also expressed concern about security standards being imposed on them by the US.

In a communique, the presidents said that they agreed to work together on extradition and security issues, including working with the US to upgrade security equipment and training in their countries.

But the presidents objected to US Homeland Security efforts aimed at the three islands, and agreed to review the US-imposed standards for their appropriateness to each state.

While the Marshall Islands and FSM have already signed new, amended Compacts of Free Association with the US, Palau's Compact doesn't expire until 2009.

The three presidents are concerned over the US failure to include Palau in timely negotiations on immigration issues in Compact agreements.

A summit official says the Bush administration is demanding that Palau agree to limits on its citizens' immigration access to America in exchange for gaining access to a telecommunications program.