13 Jun 2009

Palau's President says Palau won't be paid to accept Chinese detainees

9:28 am on 13 June 2009

The President of Palau, says Palau won't be paid to accept Chinese Muslim Uighurs detainees now being held by the United States at its the Guantanamo Bay detention centre.

President Johnson Toribiong has tentatively agreed to a United States request to temporarily resettle some or all of the detainees.

Although senior U.S. officials who spoke to the Associated Press said the US was prepared to give Palau up to 200 million US dollars in development aid, budget support and other assistance in return for accepting the refugees.

But President Johnson says this was likely in reference to the Compact of Free Association that is currently being reviewed.

He has told the Pacific Daily News that from their initial discussions with the US, it was clear from both sides it was purely a humanitarian gesture.

He said there would be no economic assistance from anybody, other than the United States assuring their transition would be smooth.

He said the review of the Compact, which expires October 1, is unrelated to this agreement.

Meanwhile, four of the Uighur detainees are reported to be have been flown to Bermuda, a British overseas territory, that has sparked a row with London, which says it wasn't consulted.