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Relocation near for some Chinese Muslims

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, August 6, 2009) – Some Chinese Muslims still detained at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, have overcome reservations about being sent to Palau, and a final deal on their relocation is near.

A lawyer for two of the Uighur detainees met with U.S. State Department officials this week and told the diplomats they are now willing to move to Palau.

George Clarke told The Associated Press some of the 13 Uighurs had agreed to go, overcoming previous fears that Palau would not be able to protect them from China, which considers them separatists.

Once a deal is struck, it is expected to take weeks to organize the Uighurs’ transfer.

Palau in June offered to take the 13 detainees.

But Palau President Johnson Toribiong said in June that some of the men were hesitant because of concerns about China, which has demanded they be sent home for trial.

U.S. officials have said the men could be executed in China and have refused to send them there.

The 13 Uighurs have been held by the United States since their capture in Afghanistan and Pakistan in 2001.

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