By Bernadette H. Carreon

KOROR, Palau (Palau Horizon, Oct. 1) —U.S. President George W. Bush congratulated Palau on the occasion of its 9th Independence Day on Oct. 1.

The U.S. Embassy here forwarded Bush’s message to President Tommy Remengesau on Wednesday.

"It is with great pleasure that I extend to you and to all the people of Republic of Palau my warmest personal congratulations as you celebrate your national day on Oct. 1," Bush said.

The U.S. leader said America values "strongly its close relationship of Free Association with Palau."

The close ties of the two countries, Bush said, are bound by their commitment to democracy and the coalition partnership that aims "to build a democratic Iraq that will live in peace with its neighbors."

Bush noted that several Palauans are serving in the U.S. armed forces.

Palau will mark its 9th Independence Day with several sports and cultural activities at the Japan-Palau Friendship Bridge.

There will be boat races, canoe or "totang" races, a fishing derby and a parade featuring Palau’s different ethnic groups.

The Independence Day organizing committee has also sponsored essay writing and art contests for high school students with the theme "Working Toward a Better Future."

October 1, 2003

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