PALAU SENATE WANTS U.S. BASE ON BABELDAOB

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WELLINGTON, New Zealand (RNZI, Aug. 8) - The Palau Senate wants
the United States government to open a military base in the country if it closes
its unpopular base in Okinawa.

The U.S. Government has, under its Compact of Free Association,
rights to thousands of hectares on the big island of Babeldaob, but has yet to
exercise those rights.

The Senate said it wants to encourage the U.S. to consider Palau
if it closes Okinawa.

Senator Harry Fritz, who introduced the resolution, said the
U.S. military spends hundreds of millions of dollars in Guam to support its
bases there.

But opponents of the proposal say the base would alter the face
of Palau, bringing possibly more than 35,000 military personnel to a country
with an indigenous population of only 15,000.

And they say the base would gobble up limited land and could
have unwanted impacts on Palau’s environment.

August 8, 2003

Radio New Zealand International: http://www.rnzi.com/ 

 

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