25 Aug 2009

Palau health ministry says US obligations still stand

2:24 pm on 25 August 2009

The health minister of Palau says the United States Federal Government must care for Palauans who move to the US, despite cut backs in health services.

Stevenson Kuartei's comments come as the State of Hawaii prepares to reduce, as of September the first, its free services to the freely associated states of the Marshall Islands, Palau and the Federated States of Micronesia.

Mr Kuartei says under the Compact of Free Association between the two nations, the US government must look after the needs of Palauans who now live in the US.

"Palau gave up something in order to negotiate that treaty. So it is to some extent the responsibility of the United States to make sure our residents who migrate to the United States regardless of where they are, are taken care of because of that relationship."

Stevenson Kuartei says the same time he understands Hawaii is facing a predicament in maintaining its budget.