WASHINGTON — The United States Department of the Interior’s Office of Insular Affairs is pleased to announce that Deputy Assistant Secretary Keone Nakoa last week concluded numerous meetings in Hawai’i with federal, state, and non-governmental organization representatives where they discussed various topics including negotiations on the Compact of Free Association, the well-being of Compact communities living across the United States, including Hawaiʻi, the effects of climate change across the Pacific, U.S. security interests in the Pacific, and marine and natural resource protection in the insular areas.

“My meetings in Honolulu last week were informative and helpful as we work to advance discussions related to the Compacts of Free Association and other matters central to the mission of the Office of Insular Affairs and the Department of the Interior,” said Deputy Assistant Secretary Nakoa.

“Our collective success relies on open conversations and a strong partnership among federal, international, state, and non-governmental entities working together on a wide range of projects, including equity, climate change, health, and economic development. I was very encouraged by the opportunity to engage with many of our partners in Hawai’i toward a healthy, resilient, open, and free Pacific.”

Nakoa was joined in Honolulu by U.S. Ambassador Karen Stewart for informal discussions with Federated States of Micronesia Chief Negotiator Leo Falcam Jr. to advance discussions related to the ongoing Compact negotiations with the FSM. It was the first in-person meeting at the senior negotiator level between the United States and the FSM to discuss negotiations under the Compact of Free Association since negotiations began under the previous administration.

Nakoa also met with the following officials and their respective staff to include Hawai’i Health and Human Services Director Catherine Betts; Hawai’i Department of Land and Natural Resources Chair Suzanne Case; U.S. Navy Adm. John C. Aquilino, Indo-Pacific Commander; Lt. Col. Eric S. Marshall, Honolulu district commander, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers; We are Oceania Executive Director Josie Howard; and Office of Insular Affairs’ Honolulu office staff. 

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