30 May 2017

President of Palau in Norway

King Harald of Norway granted today the President of Palau, Tommy Remengesau, an audience at the Royal Palace in Oslo. According to Royal Court's information department, the news/photo agency NTB Scanpix took photos at the event, but as far as I know no newspapers or other media have published them, and I am not willing to pay a large fee in order to publish a photo on my blog.

No published photo from the historical event is a pity, I think, as it is not every day King Harald meets a head-of-state from such a far-away country.* There is at present no information about the visit at the president's own Twitter account or the official website of the Government of Palau. But according to the Norwegian Foreign Office, President Remengesau is in Norway in connection  with a summit on illegal fishing. The president spoke at the summit yesterday, as is shown in tweets from the UN Food & Agriculture Organization's Fisheries & Aquaculture Department and Christian Laborda, former Head of Oceanic Dpt. MOFA Chile (see here and here). There is even a photo of President Remengesau together with the Norwegian Minister of Fisheries, Per Sandberg (Árni M. Mathiesen, Assistant Director-General, Fisheries and Aquaculture Department FAO, is also in the photo).

So what is to tell about President Thomas E. «Tommy» Remengesau? According to the official website he is in his fourth period as President. He was Vice President of Palau from 1993 to 2001, then President from 2001 to 2009 and after a break, because in accordance with the Constitution of Palau one cannot be elected for more than two consecutive periods, he regained the top position in 2013. The president, who is born in 1956, is married and has four children and five grandchildren. His father, Thomas O. Remengesau, b. 1929, served as acting President of Palau in 1985 (then in the capacity as Minister of Justice as the Vice President was abroad and had to return to take the oath) and as President from 1988 to 1989 and was the country's Vice President from 1985 to 1988. The short presidential history of Palau is kind of brutal. The first president, Haruo Remeliik, was assassinated in 1985, while the third president, Lazarus Salii, commited suicide in 1988.

*One could argue that photos from official royal events in a public building as the Royal Palace is, should be taken by the court's own photographers and be permitted to be published freely as long as credit is given, but I guess that is just the grumpy old me ...

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