21 Apr 2003

Kwajalein Atoll landowners are unhappy with new Compact agreement between Marshalls Islands and US

4:40 pm on 21 April 2003

Kwajalein Atoll landowners in the Marshall Islands says they are dissatisfied with the country's new Compact of Free Association with the United States.

The new agreement, to be signed soon after years of negotiation, is worth 3 billion US dollars to the Marshalls over the course of the 20 year compact.

The previous deal allowed for Kwajalein Atoll to be used by the US military as a missile testing range until 2016.

The new compact will extend the land lease by a further 50 years.

Tony De Brum, a former government leader and member of the Kwajalein Negotiations Commission, says the landowners are unhappy with the lease extension and are rejecting the current compact.

Mr De Brum says the Marshalls government must obtain from the landowners a land use agreeement before any deal it makes with another country can come into effect.