21 Apr 2008

Marshall Islands government to put forward proposal on land rental on Kwajalein

3:16 pm on 21 April 2008

The Marshall Islands government is planning to forward a proposal to the United States military from landowners who are demanding a rent increase for the Kwajalein atoll.

The landowners want an increase of up to 19 million US dollars annually which is four million dollars more than they presently get.

The US says it won't budge and if the landowner's demand continues it will close down one of its most important military sites.

Our correspondent in the Marshall Islands Giff Johnson says the US Ambassador has agreed to foward a proposal to Washington, adding, that that is not a statement that the US is going to engage in negotiations.

"That's far from it. The government here is still getting organised on its pitch to Washington and it's mid April so perhaps in the next month or so a proposal will be put together and sent off and that'll form the basis of some discussion"

If a deal is not reached by December the landowners could also lose over 20 million dollars in a special escrow account which will be returned to the US Treasury.