3 Feb 2012

Marshalls foreign minister wants to plug doctor shortage with Cubans

3:21 pm on 3 February 2012

The Marshall Islands new foreign minister says Cuban doctors should be used to meet the country's severe shortage of doctors.

Phillip Muller says Marshall Islands support of the United States at the United Nations is costing it access to development support, including much-needed medical aid from Cuba.

The Marshall Islands, which is heavily funded by the US under a Compact of Free Association, is among a small group of Pacific countries providing UN backing in supporting Israel and maintaining an embargo against Cuba.

Our correspondent in the Marshall Islands, Giff Johnson, says Mr Muller has suggested re-evaluating the voting strategy.

"In the recent past the Marshall Islands has had a very critical shortage of doctors so what Phillip Muller the foreign minister is saying is they feel like these issues are in the national interest and if they feel they need to get Cuban doctors then that's what they should do if that'll solve the problem."

However Giff Johnson says Phillip Muller is also appealing for more help from the US and Israel in return for support at the UN.