Five islands in the Northern Marianas are expected to be exempted from President Barack Obama's proclamation transferring control to the CNMI of the lands and waters surrounding it.
Our correspondent in the CNMI says Farallon de Pajaros, Maug, and Asuncion are part of a national marine monument, while Tinian and Farallon de Mendinilla are leased to the United States Department of Defense.
CNMI's governor Eloy Inos says his understanding is that the three northernmost islands that are part of the monument would be exempted from the transfer of control until a co-management agreement has been finalized.
The governor says a presidential proclamation is expected on or before January the 16th, which he says is the statutory deadline by which the president must proclaim the transfer.
A ruling by the Ninth Circuit court in 2005 said that the submerged lands had belong to the US.