4 Feb 2012

Marshalls appeals for more US help in return for UN voting support

7:14 am on 4 February 2012

The Marshall Islands' new foreign minister is appealing for help from the United States and Israel in return for voting support at the United Nations.

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.

Phillip Muller says that support is costing the Marshall Islands access to development assistance, including much-needed doctors from Cuba.

Our correspondent in Majuro, Giff Johnson, says Mr Muller has expressed some optimism about Israel extending support and has also been in talks with the US.

"His comment about the US government discouraging them from accessing the Cuban doctors, he just said well, fine if the US doesn't want us to get the Cuban doctors then it should provide us doctors to help solve our situation."

Giff Johnson says a delegation from Israel is scheduled to visit the Marshall Islands within the next several weeks.