PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT
Pacific Islands Development Program/East-West Center
U.S. SAYS DECISION TO SEND DETAINEES TO PALAU NOT FINAL
MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, June 10, 2009) – The United States says it has not finalised a deal with the Pacific island republic of Palau to take a group of Chinese Muslims detained at the American base at Guantanamo Bay, in Cuba.
The president of Palau says he has agreed to temporarily resettle up to 17 Uighur detainees, subject to periodic review.
The Chinese Muslims have been cleared of any wrongdoing.
But they have remained at Guantanamo Bay because no country will take them.
But a US State Department spokesman says a final agreement has not been reached, and negotiations are still under way on the details.
The 17 were cleared of engaging in weapons training at a Taliban military training camp in Afghanistan five years ago.
Palau's President Johnson has denied that the decision has anything to do with Palau seeking an extension of the financial provisions of the Compact of Free Association with the US.
Palau is one of the world's smallest nations, with 21,000 people living on the chain of islands, approximately 800 kilometres east of the Philipines. An estimated three-quarters of the population is Christian.
Palau established an embassy of China (Taiwan) in 1999, rather than with mainland China.
Radio Australia: www.abc.net.au/ra
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