Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Palau President Toribiong Agrees To Accept 17 Uyghur Gitmo Detainees, Temporarily

Palau President Toribiong Agrees To Accept 17 Uyghur Gitmo Detainees, Temporarily

Written by Kevin Kerrigan
Wednesday, 10 June 2009 11:59


Guam - Palauan President Johnson Toribiong has agreed to temporarily, accept the resettlement of 17 Muslim Chinese Uyghurs currently being held in the Guantanamo Bay detention facility in Cuba.

According to a Ministry of State news release obtained by PNC News, the decision follows a meeting last Thursday in Palau with a delegation of officials from the U.S. Government.

At that meeting President Toribiong was presented with a letter from U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton which states that a "successful resettlement arraignment would deepen the already strong and special relationship between the United States and Palau and help us move towards the closure of the Guantanamo Bay Detention facility."

The release states that Palau’s agreement to accept the temporary resettlement of these detainees "is a humanitarian gesture intended to help them be freed from any further unnecessary incarceration and to restart their lives anew in as normal a fashion as possible."

Read the Palau Ministry Of State Release & Letter From U.S. Secretary of State Clinton

President Toribiong is quoted in the report as saying that: “I am honored and proud that the United States has asked Palau to assist with such a critical task. This is but a small thing that we can do to thank our best friend and ally for all it has done for Palau.”

Meanwhile, the Palauan edition of the Marianas Variety reports that even though Palau has agreed to accept the Uyghurs, President Toribiong doesn't know whether the U.S. will actually go through with the transfer of the Gitmo detainees to Palau, or when that might happen.

Toribiong also also told the paper that his decision has nothing to do with the upcoming review of the financial provisions of the Compact between Palau and the U.S., which Palau wants extended.

There are reports that the U.S. offered Palau up to $200 million in development, budget support and other assistance in return for accepting the Uyghurs Gitmo detainees.

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