15 Jan 2004

Marshall Islanders reassured that nuke health issues won't be ignored

4:28 pm on 15 January 2004

A high-level delegation of US officials to the Marshall Islands says the US nuclear weapons test legacy must be resolved.

A group headed by Congressman Richard Pombo, who heads the committee which has primary responsibility for funding the Marshalls, visited the republic this week.

The US funding programme to pay for health problems resulting from nuclear testing between 1946 and 1958 ends on the 31st of this month.

But our correspondent, Giff Johnson, reporting from Majuro, says that Mr Pombo told the Marshall Islanders that some sort of funding will be continued.

"Chairman Pombo says that his committee is keen to hold hearings into the whole Marshall Islands nuclear test situation at a point in the near future. He says what he would like is to figure out a way to come to some sort of closure on the nuclear test responsibility to the Marshall Islands and he was very clear that the US Congress accepts that there's a responsibility from the US to address these outstanding issues in the Marshall Islands and to try and bring some sort of closure."

Our correspondent in the Marshall Islands, Giff Johnson.