16 Jun 2008

Delay in Marshall's Ambassador to US taking up post

10:44 am on 16 June 2008

The appointment of Benjamin Graham as the Marshall Islands ambassador to the United States is facing a hurdle that has stalled his taking up his new post in Washington.

The U.S. Ambassador to the Marshall Islands, Clyde Bishop, says the US government is likely to approve his nomination with the condition he relinquish his U.S. citizenship.

Mr Graham holds both Marshall Islands and U.S. citizenship

He was the first general manager of the Marshall Islands Visitors Authority.

The Marshall Islands Foreign Minister, Tony deBrum, and Mr Graham met with State Department officials in Washington.

Officials in Majuro indicated that they are continuing to discuss the appointment issue with U.S. government officials so the appointment can proceed.

Mr Graham was sworn in for service with other new Marshall Islands ambassadors more than two months ago.

Marshall Islands government officials said that while it is not usual practice for U.S. citizens to be ambassadors of other countries to the U.S., it is not specifically prohibited by State Department regulations.