U.S. CONGRESS DOWNPLAYS KWAJALEIN IMPORTANCE

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MAJURO, Marshall Islands (December 14, 2001 – Marshall Islands Journal)---The U.S. House of Representatives recently passed H.R. 2586, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2002.

An early version of the Act included a section which outlined the significance and importance of Kwajalein Atoll: "The requirements of United States missile defense and space surveillance programs, combined with the uniqueness of Kwajalein's location, and infrastructure investment, make renewal of the Compact in the best interest of the Department of Defense."

However, on September 20, Congressman Tom Lantos, from California, objected to the wording in the resolution.

He said: "This provision links the importance of the test site to ongoing negotiations over U.S. assistance provisions under the Compact of Free association, which would be very detrimental to these negotiations."

Lantos then requested an amendment, which would strike the section relating to a sense of the Congress regarding Kwajalein Atoll.

The final passing of HR 2586 appears to NOT include the statement supporting the "importance" of Kwajalein.

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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