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MAJURO@ONLINE March 22, 2002
A GROUP OF LEADING US SENATORS AND CONGRESSMAN HAVE ASKED THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION TO BEGIN EVALUATING THE MARSHALL ISLANDS PETITION FOR INCREASED NULCEAR TEST COMPENSATION AND MEDICAL CARE PROGRAMS. THE LETTER FOLLOW MONTHS OF INTENSE LOBBYING EFFORTS IN WASHINGTON D.C. BY THE RMI EMBASSY. PRESIDENT NOTE AND CABINET MEMBERS, AND LEADERS OF THE NUCLEAR TEST AFFECTED ATOLLS. IT ISTHE FIRST OFFICIAL ACKNOWLEDGEMENT BYT THE US CONGRESS THAT IT RECEIVED THE RMI PETITION THAT WAS SUBMITTED 18 MONTHS AGO. PRESIDENT NOTE INDICATED THAT HE WAS " GRATEFUL AND SATISFIED" THA US SILENCE ABOUT THE RMI NUCLEAR TEST PETITION HAS COME TO AN END.  "NOW WE CAN BEGIN THE HARD WORK OF EDUCATION AND ADVOCACY THAT WILL FOLLOW THIS HISTORIC STEP BY CONGRESS," HE SAID. IN A LETTER TO PRESIDENT BUSH LAST WEEK WEDNESDAY, THREE US SENATORS AND TWO MEMBERS OF CONGRESS REQUESTED THE BUSH ADMINSITRATION TO TAKE ACTION IN ASSESSING THE PETITION ON "CHANGED CIRCUMSTANCES", SO CALLED BECAUSE THE PROVISION IN THE COMPACT OF FREE ASSOCIATION UNDER WHICH IT WAS SUBMITTED TO THE CONGRESS REQUIRES THAT THE MARSHALL ISLANDS DEMONSTRATE THAT CIRCUMSTANCES HAVE CHANGED SINCE THE ORIGINAL COMPENSATION PACKAGE WAS FIRST NEGOTIATED THAT RENDER THE COMPENSATION"MANIFESTLY INADEQUATE." WE UNDERSTAND THAT THE US COMPACT NEGOTIATOR (AL SHORT) HAS AGREED THA THE ADMINISTRATION IS PREPARED TO EVALUATE THE PETITION IF REQUESTED BY CONGRESS" THE FIVE CONGRESSIONAL LEADERS SAID IN THE MARCH 13, LETTER TO BUSH. " ACCORDINGLY, WE WOULD APPRECIATED YOU HAVING THE APPROPRIATE AGENCIES EVALUATE THE PETITION." ....
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