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Author Topic: Palau considering taking Guantanamo Bay Uighur detainees  (Read 4298 times)

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Tavita Tusitala

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Palau considering taking Guantanamo Bay Uighur detainees
« on: June 16, 2009, 02:33:38 PM »
The Obama administration is discussing with the South Pacific island nation of Palau to relocate some or all of 17 Uighurs -- native Chinese Muslims -- held at Guantanamo Bay, administration officials told CNN Tuesday.

Last week, Daniel Fried, the Obama administration's special envoy to oversee the closure of Guantanamo, visited Palau and Australia as part of a tour of the Pacific region. Although the State Department confirmed the visit, it offered no details.

Australia previously rejected U.S. appeals to accept some of the Uighurs, but its foreign minister said last month it may reconsider its decision.

Officials said Fried, who has been negotiating with various countries to accept Guantanamo detainees as part of President Obama's policy to close the facility, was discussing the relocation of the Uighurs with the Palauan government.

Once a U.S. trust territory in the Pacific, the tiny island nation of Palau has maintained close ties with the United States since it declared independence in 1994 and signed a Free Compact of Association with Washington. Palau still depends on the United States for its defense and relies heavily on U.S. aid. Additionally, native-born Palauans are allowed to enter the United States without a visa.
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Tavita Tusitala

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Re: Palau considering taking Guantanamo Bay Uighur detainees
« Reply #1 on: June 16, 2009, 02:49:39 PM »
KOROR, Palau -

Palau, famed for lush tropical landscapes and spectacular diving, earlier agreed to take in former Khmer Rouge leader Pol Pot and rescued Afghan refugees, its President Johnson Toribiong said Saturday. But neither of those two deals panned out.

"It's our age-old tradition to receive those in need whenever they somehow arrive on our shores," President  Toribiong said in an interview with The Associated Press. "It's still tentative, it's not definite yet," he said.

"The two previous times, we agreed, but they didn't come."

Palau is one of the world's smallest countries, with about 20,000 people scattered over 190 square miles. Only nine of its 340 islands are inhabited. Most residents work in tourism, construction, fishing and farming, leading modest lives in stark contrast to the extravagant resorts enjoyed by its foreign visitors.

Toribiong cautioned against the perception that the detainees were being released into a tropical paradise.

"We struggle everyday," he said. "They're coming to a developing country with many, many islands and a diverse population. We need people to help Palau develop."


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Re: Palau considering taking Guantanamo Bay Uighur detainees
« Reply #2 on: July 15, 2009, 10:00:41 PM »
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