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HAGATNA, Guam (Pacific Daily News, Mar. 13) - Republic of Palau President Tommy Remengesau Jr. met with Palauans on Guam last night in Dededo to discuss the state of affairs in their home country.

Vic April, Guam's consul general for Palau, said even though Remengesau arrived on island an hour before the meeting, he held it because "he wants to update Palauans on Guam about what is going on in the community."

Remengesau said he stopped off in Guam on his way to Iwo Jima in Japan.

"I always like to stop by to meet the Palauan Community Association of Guam to brief them on the developments in Palau. The members of our community here on Guam are important and contribute to Palau, be it by sending money home or returning to Palau," the president said before the meeting.

"At the same time, this is the first time I have been to Guam since Supertyphoon Pongsona hit and I wanted to see how our people have recovered."

Dozens of Palauans attended the meeting last night to hear about developments in Palau's economy, a planned Palauan community center in Guam and most notably, the progress of the dual-citizenship bill currently before the Palau Legislature.

"I came to see what he has to say and I am hoping he would address the (dual) citizenship (issue)," said Ellen Wertz, 41, of Yigo.

Johanes Temengil, public information officer for the Palauan Community Association of Guam, said the dual-citizenship issue is important because Palauans who have citizenship in other countries lose their right to vote in Palauan elections and many of their property rights.

"We are treated as foreigners, in that we can no longer purchase land and if we inherit land we can not get the licenses we need," he said.

"So it is a very big issue for us because we want those rights and we would like the opportunity to vote because we are a very large contingent and we have the ability to swing a vote in an election."

Remengesau, who has pushed for dual citizenship and created and submitted legislation on the matter to Palauan lawmakers, said the dual citizenship would help everyone in that it could create more business opportunities for Palauans and allow Palauans who have made their home elsewhere to still have a voice back home.

March 13, 2003

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