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Pacific Islands Forum – U.S. Engagement in the Pacific Islands
The U.S. established diplomatic relations with Nauru in 1976, eight years after Nauru's independence from an Australia-administered trusteeship. The close relationship between the U.S. and Nauru is based on mutual respect and shared interests. The two countries work closely together on a broad range of issues, from strengthening regional security, to promoting sustainable development and addressing climate change, to protecting fisheries and the environment. The U.S. has no consular or diplomatic offices in Nauru. Officers of the U.S. Embassy in Fiji are concurrently accredited to Nauru and make regular visits.
U.S. Assistance to Nauru
USAID assistance to Nauru is on hold based on the recognition of South Ossetia and Abkhazia. The U.S. is, however, a major financial contributor to international and regional organizations that assist Nauru, including the Asian Development Bank (ADB), World Bank, UN Children's Fund, World Health Organization, and UN Fund for Population Activities. The U.S. has an expanded ship-rider agreement under the under Oceania Maritime Security Initiative (OMSI) with Nauru to provide security and support missions that allow Nauruan law enforcement officials to ride aboard U.S. Navy and U.S. Coast Guard vessels. The U.S. also contributes U.S. Coast Guard and U.S. Navy air assets to regional Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA) operations that help Nauru protect earnings from fishing licenses in the country’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ). Additionally, Nauru participates in U.S. Pacific Command sponsored workshops on topics including humanitarian assistance/disaster relief and maritime security.
Bilateral Economic Relations
Trade between the U.S. and Nauru is limited by the latter's small size and remoteness. As Nauru's phosphate mining has declined due to the depletion of reserves, the country has relied heavily on payments for fishing rights within its exclusive economic zone, operation of detention centers for asylum seekers to Australia (administered by Australia but with opportunities for local employment and compensation to the Nauruan government), and development assistance. Nauru is a party to the U.S.-Pacific Islands Multilateral Tuna Fisheries Treaty, which provides access to U.S. fishing vessels in exchange for a license fee paid by U.S. industry. Under a separate Economic Assistance Agreement associated with the Treaty, the U.S. government currently provides $21 million per year to Pacific Island parties.