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HAGATNA, Guam (Pacific Daily News, May 1) - The United States
yesterday signed a new compact with the Republic of the Marshall Islands,
according to the republic's foreign minister.

The new agreement, which was renegotiated to replace an older
compact, provides the Marshall Islands with economic assistance for the next 20
years. The new agreement also establishes a trust fund that can be used after
the U.S. grant assistance ends in 2023.

The compact allows migrants from the Marshall Islands to move
freely within the United States and its territories. Many islanders migrate for
economic or health reasons.

A 1986 compact between the Marshall Islands and the United
States established a $150 million trust fund to repair some damage caused by
U.S. nuclear tests in the 1940s and '50s that have left a trail of illness and
contamination on the islands.

"As we have learned throughout our own history, our
relationship will continue to mature as each of our nations' needs and
aspirations change," said Marshall Islands Foreign Minister Gerald Zackios.
"I emphasize this 'change' to our relationship because the (compact) is an
instrument that allowed both nations to formalize our relationship, yet respects
each of our national interests. It is a successful model that has survived 17
years and will continue to do so into the future."

May 1, 2003

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