19 Sep 2011

Marshalls leaders want discussion with US on visa-free access

4:24 am on 19 September 2011

The Marshall Islands government wants discussions with the United States before Washington places restrictions on visa-free access to the US.

The access is a key aspect of the Compact of Free Association between the US and the Federated States of Micronesia, the Marshall Islands and Palau.

The US Senate Appropriations Committee is directing the Department of Homeland Security to establish a plan to begin restricting the entry of people from the three countries.

Our correspondent in Majuro, Giff Johnson, says Marshall Islands leaders have told him they don't want restrictions imposed as some sort of penalty.

"Their concern is if this is to be discussed it should be done as a special bilateral meeting of the US government with the island governments to address this issue in a friendly manner through the mechanism of the free association treaty."

Our correspondent in the Marshall Islands, Giff Johnson.