22 Jun 2007

Future of US missile testing range at Kwajalein in doubt

2:32 pm on 22 June 2007

The future of the US missile testing range at Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands is in doubt as landowners refuse to accept rental terms offered by Washington.

Kwajalein Senator Tony deBrum says landowners will not accept another 70 years of failing services and inhuman conditions, and are not convinced the new agreement for long-term US use will

change the situation.

This comes four years after US and Marshall Islands government leaders signed off on a long-term deal for US use of the Reagan Test Site.

The current land use agreement (LUA) expires in 2016, however the US Ambassador to the Marshall Islands Clyde Bishop says the US is not planning to leave in 2016.

But until the landowners agree on an LUA, the US and Marshall Islands governments cannot enforce a deal that they signed in 2003 extending American operations at Kwajalein until 2086.

Kwajalein leaders asked for US $19 million annually, but the U.S. offered $15 million, which is about $3 million over the existing rental payment level.