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Funds approved by U.S. government not in Palau budget

By Junhan B. Todeno SAIPAN, CNMI (Marianas Variety, Sept. 28, 2010) - Members of the Palauan community on Saipan are still hoping that their government will reopen the consulate in the commonwealth.

But their spokesman, Rufino Aguon, said they have yet to get any reply from the Palau government.

In his last visit to Saipan, Palau President Johnson Toribiong met with the Palauan community and assured that his administration would reopen the consulate, which was closed on Dec. 31, 2009 due to funding problems.

Toribiong said his administration was able to secure financial support from the U.S. government.

However, funding for the consulate office on Saipan was not included in the Palau government budget.

The Palau consulate on Guam received a US$78,000 budget.

Palau also has embassies in Washington, D.C, Tokyo, Japan; Taipei, Taiwan, and Manila, the Philippines.

Aguon said the 2,000 Palauans on Saipan have to process their passports and other officials documents in their homeland.

If the consulate is not re-opened, he said Palau officials should regularly visit the island to provide the services the consulate used to extend to Palauans here.

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