PALAU JOINS "COALITION OF WILLING"

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KOROR, Palau (Palau Horizon, Mar. 31) - Palau has joined the
list of the "coalition of the willing" which is supporting the United
States-led war on Iraq.

President Tommy Remengesau, in his letter to U.S. President
George Bush, offered the use of Palau’s facilities as an additional staging
area for American military operations.

Palau has a Compact of Free Association with the U.S.

Remengesau, in the same letter, extended the "unqualified
support of the people of the Republic of Palau for the valiant decision that
(Bush) has made on behalf of the people of the U.S., as well as those around the
world, to back up the intent of United Nations Resolution No. 1441 by initiating
‘Operation Iraqi Freedom.’ "

Although Palau cannot offer anything beyond the service of
Palauan men and women in the U.S. military, Remengesau said the Pacific island
nation is still committed to extending any assistance that America would need.

"I offer you and the American people, especially those
young men and women who are defending freedom and democracy in America’s
military, my prayers that a peaceful response will result from your efforts.
Barring that, I pray for a short and successful campaign. May God bless your
efforts," Remengesau said.

Palau is among 47 nations in the "coalition of the
willing."

Remengesau was in Washington, D.C. when U.S. and British forces
began their military strike on Iraq.

Remengesau was with officials of Palau National Communication
Corp. who were scheduled to meet with the Federal Communications Commission and
other key U.S. officials to discuss Palau’s membership in the National
Exchange Carrier Association.

Meanwhile, Vice President Sandra Pierantozzi has met with the
National Emergency Committee and the National Emergency Management Office to
discuss the war’s possible impact on Palau.

She said security has been tightened at all points of entry, and
that there is now strict surveillance of power plants and embassies.

Pierantozzi said government officials met with shipping agents
to make sure that shipments will continue.

She added that the business sector has also been asked not to
take advantage of the situation and increase the prices of basic commodities.

Pierantozzi said she will likewise meet with officials of the
oil companies in Palau to ensure that fuel prices are kept at a reasonable
level. Minister of State Temmy Shmull said the government should ask Mobil and
Shell to justify their fuel price increases.

Shmull said Palauans are "very concerned" about the
increase in prices of fuel.

He said if the two oil companies in Palau can justify the recent
fuel increases "then it’s fine."

Mobil Oil in Palau increased its oil prices by 5 cents per
gallon last March 15.

A check with Shell gas stations here showed that they had also
increased fuel prices by 5 cents per gallon.

Cecile Bamba Suda, Mobil Oil Guam/Micronesia spokeswoman, said
petroleum prices have been volatile for years, and that the current Middle East
crisis "amplified the situation, thereby making any comment on fuel prices
speculative."

April 1, 2003

Marianas Variety: www.mvariety.com 

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