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FSM, US sign maritime boundary treaty in Palau

KOROR, Palau (FSM Information Services) — On Friday morning, the Federated States of Micronesia and the United States signed a treaty that clarifies maritime boundary between the two countries.

Signing the treaty on behalf of the FSM was the Secretary of Foreign Affairs Lorin Robert. The United States was represented by Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Dennise Mathieu.

U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Dennise Mathieu, left, and FSM Secretary of Foreign Affairs Lorin Robert during the signing ceremony at Palau Community College.  FSM Information Services photoU.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Dennise Mathieu, left, and FSM Secretary of Foreign Affairs Lorin Robert during the signing ceremony at Palau Community College. FSM Information Services photo

During the ceremony, Robert expressed gratitude to the Forum Secretariat and Palau President Tommy Remengesau for allowing the ceremony to take place during the meeting.

“I take the honor as my high duty to represent President Manny Mori and the FSM government at this ceremony,” Robert said. “Today’s signing ceremony is indeed very important and timely given the theme of this year’s forum — Ocean: life and future. With a well-defined boundary between the United States Territory of Guam and the FSM now in place, today’s occasion only confirms and strengthens the obvious. The obvious being the Micronesian tradition that we are peoples of the seas; we take pride in the stewardship and benefit from the bounties of the ocean.”

Robert also reiterated the importance the FSM government attaches to its “special and unique relationship” with the United States as embodied in the Compact of Free Association.

“That relationship has been a source of inspiration as it has enriched us and made us a strong Pacific Island nation.”

Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Mathieu said: “There is something special about boundary. Maritime boundaries promote good order at sea and peaceful relations between countries. But a boundary is also symbolic, and this boundary treaty reflects the important bonds of friendship between our two countries and the close relations between the people of the United States of America and the people of the Federated States of Micronesia.”

The boundary between Guam and the Caroline Islands of the FSM had overlapped. Appropriate technical adjustments have been undertaken between the two countries following the principle of equidistance, such that the boundary line is equal in distance from each country.  

The treaty will become effective after it is ratified by the FSM Congress based on the FSM Constitution.

The FSM had worked out similar boundary treaties with Papua New Guinea, the Republic of the Marshall Islands and the Republic of Palau.