7 Dec 2002

US and Marshalls negotiate on Kwajalein missile base use

12:00 pm on 7 December 2002

Negotiators from the United States and Marshall Islands are meeting in Washington DC to discuss a US offer for long term rental of the Kwajalein missile testing range.

Marshall Islands officials are keeping tight-liped about a US government counter-offfer received last week that is responding to a recent Marshall Islands proposal to increase rental levels and extend use of Kwajalein for an additional 50 years.

Pentagon officials have recently indicated their interest in extended US use of the Central Pacific missile range for 40 years.

The US is currently paying about 13 million US dollars annually to use Kwajalein with a lease that doesn't expire until 2016.

However, the Marshall Islands wants about 21 million dollars annually for extending use of Kwajalein at least until 2043.

US and Marshall Islands negotiators have used the opportunity of ongoing negotiations on a new 20-year funding package to discuss a longer-term extension of the missile range lease.