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Saturday, July 13, 2024
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    US Government to establish a partnership of equals with Vanuatu

    In a move aimed at strengthening bilateral ties, the United States government is set to establish an embassy in Port Vila, Vanuatu, scheduled to open around July.

    US Ambassador Ann Marie Yastishock highlighted the significant opportunities this would bring during a press conference on Friday, the 19th.

    The Ambassador also announced the return of Peace Corps Volunteers, a total of 10 – 14 volunteers to return by this year, around Summer (May – September).

    Furthermore, she extends her support and looks forward to working with Vanuatu on efforts to mitigate the effects of Climate change, improve business development, and enhance security.

    “There’s a lot of things that we as the US Government are working on and hope to do more once we’re up and running fully as an embassy,” said the Ambassador.

    Mrs. Yastishock further said the embassy, and the permanent staff that will soon work there, will give them the opportunity and allow them to interact with Ni-Vanuatu people, businesses, educators, and the Government daily.

    US Ambassador, Ann Marie Yastishock during the handing over of credentials at the State House. Photo: Supplied.

    In her remarks, she noted that Climate change is an important area for collaboration, and the United States recognizes and values Vanuatu’s global leadership on this issue.

    “President Biden is deeply committed to addressing the existential threat of Climate change, and we commend Vanuatu’s leadership in this space.

    “We understand Vanuatu shares an unequal burden of the consequences of climate change and the United States is dedicated to supporting Vanuatu’s need for climate resilience disaster response, adaptation and mitigation, biodiversity, capacity building, and expansion of renewable energy resources.”

    The US Ambassador further said they are committed to assisting Vanuatu in maintaining the country’s maritime security and the protection of their exclusive economic zones, resources, and sovereignty.

    “Our shiprider agreement has already seen positive results in providing the opportunity for Vanuatu maritime law enforcement officials to enforce illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing and illicit transnational Maritime activity.

    “The United States also stands ready to collaborate with Vanuatu on other major challenges, including food security, cybersecurity, and greater access to global financial networks.

    “The United States remains committed to collaborating closely to elevate the role of women across all sectors, promoting economic empowerment, and helping communities build resilience in the face of Climate change.”

    Considering the Peace Corps Volunteer program, which ceased due to the pandemic, Ambassador Yastishock said they look forward to the Peace Corps returning to the country.

    “The Peace Corp has been working on establishing for the first time a modern intensive care unit at the local hospital.

    “We’re excited to have that opening in about a month or so, after all the equipment has been put inside.”

    Mrs. Yastishock said Education is high on their list and there will be sponsorship programs to support the Education sector.

    Also, they look forward to issue US Visas within Vanuatu, which will be a turning point for Vanuatu since US Visas can only be processed in Fiji and Papua New Guinea.

    “We have been assisting various part of the Government through Grants over the past years, particularly on civil service reform, we met earlier this week with the Public Service Commission and that was all through the support of the USAID through the SPC.”

    The US Ambassador said they look forward to working closely with the Government and the people to deepen their connection with Vanuatu.

    “Our relationship with Vanuatu goes back to World War II, we were fighting side by side, this allowed us the opportunity to again, look at how we engage and how we partner in a time when Climate Change has been affecting Vanuatu.”

    The new US embassy will be opened this year and be located with the French Embassy, and the British and New Zealand High Commission.

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