9 May 2011

Marshalls' landowners and US set to sign new deal over Kwajalein

3:11 pm on 9 May 2011

Marshall Islands landowners are finally satisfied with an agreement that's to be signed on Tuesday allowing the United States to continue to run its defence base on Kwajalein Atoll for another 50 years.

The atoll has been the Pentagon's primary site for testing missile defence technology since the early 1960s.

Our correspondent, Giff Johnson, says although the agreement doesn't match the landowner's original demand for a higher payment, it is still advantageous.

He says the deal specifies that the U.S. must give at least seven years notice should it decide to exit Kwajalein early.

Giff Johnson says it's taken eight years for landowners to agree to the terms and once signed will result in the release of 32 million US million dollars to the landowners.

"Presumably once the signatures are on the agreement, then it goes to the United States and then its up to the ambassador, the US ambassador and the Marshall Islands Foreign Minister, then to issue a letter to the bank authorising distribution of this rent money to the landowners."

Giff Johnson.