PALAU ACCEPTS $250 MILLION PACKAGE FROM U.S.

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Deal apparently extends compact support

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Jan. 28, 2010) – Palau has accepted a US$250 million aid package from the United States, insisting there is no link with Palau hosting six inmates whom the US had held at its detention centre in Guantanamo Bay.

Palau’s President, Johnson Toribiong, made the announcement as members of the Palau and US Compact Review Advisory Group met in Hawaii to sign the deal, which covers the former US Trust Territory from 2010 to 2024.

He says he has decided that the time has come for Palau to negotiate a final deal on the basis of the last offer.

Under the original Compact of Free Association between Washington and Palau, which became independent in 1994, direct assistance was supposed to end this year, with a trust fund providing future income.

[PIR editor’s note: According to Radio Australia, Palau had earlier refused an offer from the U.S. of $156 million.]

The settlement now comes after Palau agreed to resettle six Muslim Uighurs who the US held for seven years in Guantanamo Bay without laying any charges.

President Johnson says the two issues are not related.

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