Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Republic of Palau Offers to Accept 17 Guantanamo Bay Detainees

Palau The Republic of Palau has agreed to accept 17 Chinese Muslim detainees now being held at Guantanamo Bay.  President Johnson Toribiong said Palau’s decision to accept the temporary resettlement of the detainees “is a humanitarian gesture intended to help them be freed from any further unnecessary incarceration and to restart their lives anew in a normal fashion.”  The decision to accept the detainees was made in consultation with Palau's traditional high chiefs.  Click here to read the U.S. Diplomatic Note to Palau from U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, followed by a Press Release from the Republic of Palau Ministry of State.

Palau was previously a U.N. Strategic Trust Territory administered by the United States.  It became an independent country in 2004 and has excellent relations with the United States.  Palau has received a great deal of money from the United States over the years as well, and there may be additional payments involved here with accepting the detainees in Palau.  Associated Press is reporting that "two U.S. officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the U.S. was prepared to give Palau up to $200 million in development, budget support and other assistance in return for accepting the Uighurs and as part of a mutual defense and cooperation treaty that is due to be renegotiated this year."

The new President of Palau, Johnson Toribiong, is a well-respected attorney.  He said that he did not know if the United States would actually transfer the detainees to Palau.   Click here to read more.  

Hat tips to the East-West Center, the Palau Horizon, the Pacific News Center, and Associated Press,


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