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By Jack Niedenthal

MAJURO, Marshall Islands (Yokwe Online, Jan. 13) – United States Secretary of the Interior Gale Norton and a congressional delegation arrived in Majuro on Tuesday for a round of meetings with Republic of the Marshall Islands President Kessai Note.

Issues to be discussed were to include the new Compact of Free Association and unresolved issues with respect to the nuclear testing that took place in the Marshalls from 1946 to1958.

Norton is the highest-ranking member of a U.S. administration to visit the RMI since U.S. Secretary Of State George Shultz visited in 1988.

The Congressional delegation includes U.S. Rep. Richard Pombo, Chairman of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee; Rep. Madeleine Bordallo of Guam; and Rep. Eni Faleomavaega of American Samoa.

Also in the delegation was Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Insular Affairs, David B. Cohen.

Later discussions were held in a second meeting with Four Atoll elected officials and their advisors from Bikini, Enewetak, Rongelap and Utrik, and also the Nuclear Claims Tribunal.

The delegation stayed overnight in the capital before heading to the Reagan Test Site at the Marshalls' Kwajalein Atoll on Wednesday. The missile range at Kwajalein is the primary testing site for the U.S. Missile Defense Agency.

Besides the Marshalls, the delegation's itinerary includes visits in the Federated States of Micronesia , the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands, Guam, and American Samoa.

January 14, 2004

Yokwe Online: www.yokwe.net


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