RAINBOW WARRIOR PRESENCE IN MARSHALLS NO PROBLEM, SAYS U.S. AMBASSADOR SENKO

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MAJURO, Marshall Islands (April 13, 2001 – Marshall Islands Journal)---U.S. and Marshall Islands officials have met concerning the visit of Greenpeace’s Rainbow Warrior, with the U.S. requesting RMI assistance in assuring non-interference in upcoming missile tests.

U.S. Ambassador Mike Senko told the Journal that visits by the vessel to any areas not controlled by the Army are the "RMI’s call." He said that the U.S. had not been putting pressure on the RMI to deny Greenpeace visit rights to Kwajalein.

Foreign Secretary Marie Maddison told the Journal that the RMI has "no problem" with the Greenpeace visit in line with constitutional guarantees of freedom of expression and the fact that Greenpeace is considered a friendly organization.

But, she added, the RMI government supports non-interference in tests at Kwajalein and will take on a role of insuring "there are no problems when the tests take place."

Last year, two Greenpeace activists led a direct action protest by holding up a banner opposing missile defense on Meck Island just minutes before an interceptor rocket was launched from the island in Kwajalein against an incoming re-entry vehicle.

Maddison said that the Army had requested RMI assistance in surveillance and monitoring at Kwajalein "because the upcoming tests are important," and both governments "want to insure there are no obstacles."

What RMI support for surveillance will actually entail in terms of either use of the Lomor patrol vessel or security personnel is a decision that will be up to the Attorney General’s office, she said.

The Marshall Islands Journal, Box 14, Majuro, Marshall Islands 96960 E-mail: journal@ntamar.com  Subscriptions (weekly): 1 year US $87.00; international $213.00 (air mail).

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