11 May 2011

Marshalls chiefs ink Kwajalein deal with US

12:46 pm on 11 May 2011

Paramount chiefs of Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands have signed an agreement granting the United States the use of a key missile testing range through 2066, ending an eight-year impasse.

The agreement was signed by a former President and chief Imata Kabua, chief Anjua Loeak and the Marshall Islands President and chief Jurelang Zedkaia.

It will extend the U.S. use of the Reagan Test Site for an additional 50 years from 2016.

The new agreement will give the landowners a 32 million US dollar payday later this week from funds that have been collecting in escrow since 2003 waiting for an agreement to be reached.

The U.S. Ambassador Martha Campbell, who did not attend the signing, said she expected to meet Kwajalein leaders on their return to Majuro today to sign a release for the fund.