WASHINGTON, 18 OCTOBER 2017 (MARIANAS VARIETY)— U.S. Assistant Secretary for Insular Areas Doug Domenech has announced the payment of US$16,854,600 to the Compact Trust Fund for the people of the Republic of the Marshall Islands.

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An additional partial payment of US$9,070,200 was also provided separately to the Marshall Islands for ongoing use of Kwajalein Atoll, the site of the Ronald Reagan Ballistic Missile Defense Test Site.

As provided for under the Compact of Free Association agreement, as amended (U.S. Public Law 108-188), the trust fund was established to contribute to the economic advancement and long-term budgetary self-reliance of the people of the Republic of the Marshall Islands when annual grant assistance under the Compact expires after fiscal year 2023. This annual U.S. payment to the trust fund follows a schedule as per Section 217 of the Compact, as amended.

“These funds represent the ongoing commitment of the U.S. government to the people of the Marshall Islands now and in the future under the Compact of Free Association,” said Domenech. “The funds were transferred as soon as possible in the new fiscal year to ensure timely opportunities for investment and maximum growth.”

Trust Fund Chairman and Office of Insular Affairs Director Nik Pula noted the value of the trust fund for the people of the Republic of the Marshall Islands as of June 30, 2017, was US$341,576,083, a preliminary and unaudited figure for fiscal year 2017….PACNEWS [/restrict]