23 Sep 2004

Kwajalein people in Marshalls remain firm against US presence beyond 2016

4:01 pm on 23 September 2004

Kwajalein landowners in the Marshall Islands have reiterated their stance not to let the US continue using their atoll for military testing beyond 2016.

A Kwajalein spokesman, Tony de Brum, says their government's latest Compact agreement with the US is still inadequate despite the announcement that Taiwan is to join the trust fund.

Taiwan is to contribute more than 40 million US dollars to the Marshalls over a 20-year period as part of the US-backed fund.

But Mr de Brum says despite US attempts to repackage the same Compact agreement, it still falls short of addressing Kwajalein's concerns, especially over the environment.

He says Kwajalein people remain resolute they won't accept US involvement on their atoll beyond when the current agreement ends in 2016.

"If the United States continues to use Kwajalein the way they are doing now without proper attention and care being taken to destruction of the environment and the land of Kwajalein, it could very well be that even before 2016 when they leave Kwajalein, the atoll will be rendered uninhabitable or, for the most part, unusable by the people that belong to it."

Tony de Brum