Colonia, Yap. January 25, 2018. FSM Senator Joseph J. Urusemal joined the Yap State Leadership in hosting US Congressman Thomas R. Suozzi of New York and his family to Yap during the past holiday season. US Congressman Suozzi is one of few Members of the US Congress to have visited Yap, but the first Congressman ever to visit the remote communities in the outlying atolls in the State of Yap.
In welcoming Congressman Suozzi, Senator Urusemal expressed how “happy and grateful the people of Yap State and the Federated States of Micronesia are for having developed a new friendship with Congressman Suozzi and his family.” Further adding that his visit, although personal, means a great deal to the people of Yap and Micronesia, stressing that his visit “further develops the already long and close friendship between the Federated States of Micronesia and the United States of America”.
Congressman Suozzi and his family, at the invitation of Senator Urusemal and the Ulithi traditional chiefs, visited the outlying atoll of Ulithi – best known for harboring fleets of US warships during WWII. While there, they witnessed the community’s typhoon recovery efforts being carried out by the residents and various organizations. A significant amount of the relief aid comes from the USAID, as well as other governmental assistance including appropriations from the FSM Congress. The delegation also had the opportunity to meet and thank a US Military Construction Battalion Team assisting the residents with their rebuilding efforts.
Congressman Suozzi and his family were on a personal visit to meet family and friends at the Yap Catholic High School. However, while in Yap, the Suozzi’s took time off their holiday vacation to meet with various government officials and communities. US Congressman Suozzi even presented a US flag flown over the US Capitol to Governor Ganngiyan “as a token of friendship and appreciation between the United States of America and the State of Yap.” Congressman Suozzi also personally presented Certificates of Special Congressional Recognition to various government officials. The Certificates read:
On behalf of the constituents of the Third Congressional District of New York, I thank you for your hospitality and friendship. For more than one-half century, the State of Yap and the United States of America have shared a unique and Special Relationship. May that relationship continue to deepen during the coming years.
Thomas R. Suozzi
Member of Congress
Third District of New York
December 25, 2017
The “more than one-half a century” special relationship noted on the certificates refers to the relationship between the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) and the United States of America (USA), which began post WWII. The islands, including Yap and other island districts making what is now the FSM, was part of the United Nations Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands (TTPI), which was administered by the US Government.
Today, the FSM and USA are under a unique relationship of free association, which began in 1986 after the FSM became an independent nation. This Compact of Free Association, mutually agreed to by the two nations, and amended in 2003, continues indefinitely for the most part. The financial assistance from the US Government, estimated to be over $130 million annually with an increasing portion going towards a jointly managed Compact Trust Fund for the FSM, is set to terminate in 2023. The other provisions of the compact including security and defense of the FSM; visa free immigration for FSM citizens to live, work and study in the USA are perpetual. In exchange for these and other benefits, the USA, among other benefits, has certain authority and rights particularly relating to defense in the FSM territory. For additional information on the free association relationship between the FSM and USA, please visit www.uscompact.org.
For more information on this and other activities of the Yap Congressional Delegation, please contact the Yap Congressional Delegation Office.
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