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Palau Waffles On Uighurs?

1:25 PM, Jun 13, 2009 • By THOMAS JOSCELYN
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Is Palau waffling on its decision to take in Uighur detainees held at Gitmo?

Here is what Palau's President was saying just a few days ago:

Palau's President Johnson Toribiong, in a statement seen by AFP Wednesday, said he agreed to a U.S. request to "temporarily" resettle the men as a "humanitarian gesture."

"I am honoured and proud that the United States has asked Palau to assist with such a critical task," he said, voicing hope the Uighurs would be able to "restart their lives anew in as normal fashion as possible."

And then today, according to the Associated Press (which hasn't read the files on the Uighurs either, as far as I can tell), President Toribiong had this to say:

The likelihood that 13 Chinese Muslims, known as Uighurs, will actually arrive on this tiny Pacific nation is about "50-50," President Johnson Toribiong said. And even if they do, it won't be for another two or three months.

"It's still tentative, it's not definite yet," Toribiong told The Associated Press. "Maybe some other country may say if a little island like Palau is willing to accept them, why not us?"…

"They come from a high-altitude country," he said. "I don't know if they like the ocean."

One wonders if the backlash by Palauans, which Toribiong dismissed in his interview with the AP, is making him rethink his decision a bit.

Toribiong has not said that the deal is off. But a few days ago it wasn't a "50-50" proposition, as it is now.