MORE U.S. FUNDING FOR FREELY ASSOCIATED STATES PROPOSED

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HONOLULU, Hawai‘i (February 9, 1999/Hulsen)---Each of the three Pacific Island nations freely associated with the United States -- the Federated States of Micronesia, the Marshall Islands and Palau -- are proposed to receiving larger grants from the U.S. under President Bill Clinton's government budget for the year 2000.

The budget sent to Congress for approval last week includes the following Compact of Free Association grants:

Funding for the Republic of the Marshall Islands will increase from $37 million in fiscal year 1999 to $37.6 million in the year 2000.

Similarly, the Federated States of Micronesia grant will go from $110.2 million to $112.2 million.

Palau's funding will rise from $11.8 million to $12 million.

U.S. Office of Insular Affairs officials say the three grants will increase slightly because of inflation.

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