26 Feb 2009

Marshalls foreign minister deBrum sacked

4:41 pm on 26 February 2009

The Marshall Islands Foreign Minister, Tony deBrum, has been sacked from Cabinet, three weeks after he publicly criticised the administration of President Litokwa Tomeing.

But Mr Tomeing's action has fuelled speculation about the future of his coalition government that has held an 18-15 majority in Parliament since it was elected 13 months ago.

In a debate carried on national radio, Mr deBrum criticised the President for not working closely with landowners who are seeking higher rent payments from the U.S. Army that operates the Reagan Test Site missile base at Kwajalein Atoll, and called the President's advisors a cancer in the government.

Mr DeBrum and Mr Tomeing have recently split over policy toward the United States, which provides nearly two-thirds of the Marshalls' national budget of 120 million US dollars.

Mr Tomeing has tried conciliatory engagement while Mr deBrum has taken a confrontational approach to relations over future U.S. use of the missile testing range and other issues.