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By Aenet Rowa

MAJURO, Marshall Islands (Yokwe, Nov. 29) – On his first State Visit to Israel, Marshall Islands President Kessai Hesa Note said his country wanted Israel's help in persuading the Americans to acknowledge culpability for the damaging long-term effects of nuclear weapons testing on the people of the Marshall Islands.

"My country experienced the equivalent of 1.6 Hiroshima sized bombs every day," said Note according to the Jerusalem Post. He said that there are many in the U.S. Government who would prefer to forget what happened and claim that everything has been resolved, but from standpoint of the Marshall Islands, much remains to be resolved.

The remarks were made during a State Luncheon hosted by the President of Israel Moshe Katsav and his wife, Mrs. Gila Katsav.

Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) President Note and First Lady Mary Note were welcomed at Beit Hanassi, the official presidential residence on Monday morning, November 28, with a full state ceremony which included a guard of honor of IDF soldiers and the playing of the two anthems.

The two countries share common values, said President Katsaw. He thanked President Note for the positive policy of the Marshall Islands towards Israel.

The RMI President said that his country supports the State of Israel in its efforts to attain peace and security for its citizens.

A statement from the Israeli President's office said that Katsav brought the Marshall Islands President up-to-date on Israeli-Palestinian developments during a private meeting. Israel is moving from optimism to pessimism with regards the possibility of attaining reconciliation with the Palestinians, he told Note.

The Presidents also discussed the strengthening of the bilateral relations. The wives of the Presidents met separately and discussed their activities,

During the State Luncheon held at noon, President Note said, "We stand proud as one of the very few, most willing and consistent supporters of your country, even on the most controversial of issues. We are proud to support the State of Israel as the vanguard of democracy in this region despite the constant acts of terrorism that have beset your great nation and people over the years," reported the Post.

Stating that friendship is a two-way street, Note thanked Israel for its "continued generosity" in providing agricultural assistance and medical aid to the Marshall Islands.

Israel has had diplomatic relations with the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) for the past 17 years. The RMI consistently votes with the United States and the other Freely Associated States in support of Israel at the United Nations.

This is President Note's first trip to the Middle Eastern region during his six-year tenure. The visit, first announced by President Note's office last September, is scheduled to conclude December 2.

November 30, 2005


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