Senate Votes to Give Micronesia Largely Independent Status
After months of delay, the Senate voted Thursday night to end the U.S. trusteeship over the Pacific Ocean islands of Micronesia and to grant them largely independent status.
The legislation extends for 30 years U.S. access to the Pacific Missile Test Range at Kwajalein, a key facility in the testing of U.S. strategic missiles.
Members of the House and Senate will have to meet to resolve differences in the compacts approved by the two bodies.
Final approval must be given by the United Nations, which granted trusteeship over the islands to the United States after World War II.
The Compact of Free Association is the product of negotiations between the United States and the governments of the Federated States of Micronesia and the Republic of the Marshall Islands.
The compact establishes the self-governing Federated States of Micronesia and the Republic of the Marshall Islands. The new governments will control all policies except defense, which remains a U.S. responsibility. The islands would get $2.3 billion in U.S. economic aid over 15 years.