U.S. CONGRESSMEN PUT MARSHALL ISLANDS ON NOTICE REGARDING AID

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WASHINGTON, D.C. (December 19, 2000 – Radio Australia)---The Marshall Islands has been warned that future aid from the United States could be in jeopardy.

Two congressmen say if the former U.S. Trust Territory does not show clear progress in reforming its government, the Pacific nation will not continue to receive large-scale assistance from Washington.

Republican representatives Doug Bereuter of Nebraska and Don Young of Alaska say the underlying problem with renewal of assistance under the current Compact of Free Association is how the Marshall Islands government has mismanaged its funding for more than a decade.

Mr. Bereuter chairs the Pacific and Asian Subcommittee of the Foreign Relations Committee, while Mr. Young chairs the Interior Subcommittee of the House Resources Committee.

The funding for the Marshalls totals approximately US$ 2 billion dollars over 15 years.

The warning follows a similar one from the State Department to the Federated States of Micronesia in the form of a counter-proposal on future economic aid, which slashed the FSM’s funding request by roughly 50-percent.

The compact’s economic provisions expire in 2001 and are now being renegotiated for both the Marshalls and the FSM.

For additional reports from Radio Australia, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Radio/TV News/Radio Australia.

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