Marianas Variety

Last updateSat, 25 May 2019 12am







    Saturday, May 25, 2019-4:21:07P.M.






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Kia’aina designated as US representative to 902 talks

SEVEN months after then-Gov. Eloy S. Inos asked for 902 talks, and five months after Gov. Ralph Torres reiterated that request, President Obama finally responded by naming Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Insular Areas Esther Kia’aina as the White House representative.

“I trust that this Section 902 consultation will be a vehicle for addressing the critical issues raised by the CNMI,” Obama said in his letter to the governor on Friday.

Torres, in a statement on Friday, said:

“We are very excited about finally being able to begin the important process of creating our panel and formalizing our positions on the key issues we brought to President Obama months ago. This has been a priority of my administration since day one, and we will continue to work toward making sure the president addresses the legitimate concerns facing the commonwealth today.”

In his letter to President Obama in Oct. 2015, then-Governor Inos said the CNMI wanted to discuss workforce and military-buildup issues with the U.S.

902 refers to Section 902 of the Covenant which allows the CNMI and federal governments to consult each other on matters affecting their relationship.

Torres on Friday said he had not yet appointed the members of the CNMI’s 902 panel which in the past was usually headed by the lt. governor and included the Senate president and the House speaker.