U.S. TELLS MARSHALL ISLANDS AND FSM TO ACCOUNT FOR US$ 3 BILLION IN FUNDING

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MAJURO, Marshall Islands (July 20, 1999 – Radio Australia)---The United States has asked the Marshall Islands and the Federated States of Micronesia to account for US$ 3 billion dollars in U.S. funding before further assistance will be considered.

A United States government negotiator in the Marshalls capital, Majuro, said the U.S. Congress wants a complete accounting of where the funds went.

Key Congressional leaders have also indicated they want the General Accounting Office to prepare a summary of U.S. funding provided over the past 13 years under 15-year Compacts of Free Association.

The U.S. government maintains its goal of promoting economic self-sufficiency in the islands, but has indicated that assistance so far has had little impact on breaking the dependency of the islands on Washington.

Before future funding is approved, U.S. officials have said they want to see what the islands have planned before considering granting new financial assistance.

Negotiations over formal renewal of assistance provisions of the Compacts of Free Association are scheduled to begin in October.

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