KOROR — Palau's President Johnson Toribiong said his country was willing to take the remaining five Uighurs being held at the US detention centre at Guantanamo Bay.
"We have an outstanding invitation to the remaining Uighurs in Guantanamo," Toribiong told journalists Monday.
Last week US lawyer Susan Baker Manning, a lawyer representing one of the five men, said she understood there was no offer from the Pacific island state to take the men.
The five detainees are the last of a group of 22 from the Turkic-speaking Chinese Muslim minority who were captured in Afghanistan after the US invasion in 2001 and held at the controversial "war on terror" detention centre in Cuba.
The men, from the northwestern Chinese region of Xinjiang, were cleared of any wrongdoing in 2004 but the US has had trouble finding new homes for them after ruling out returning them to China for fear they would be persecuted.
Six of the Uighurs went to Palau last year for temporary resettlement and Toribiong reiterated Monday they were welcome to stay as long as they wanted.
Albania and Bermuda had also agreed to take some of the Uighur detainees and last week Switzerland agreed to take two of the remaining seven.
Beijing has argued they should be returned to China for questioning as suspected terrorists.
Palau, a former US-administered Trust territory in the western Pacific, wants the Uighurs to be eventually resettled in other countries with an existing Uighur population.
But Toribiong said Monday there had been no offers yet from any other country to resettle the men.
Uighurs are a predominantly Muslim people in China's northwestern region of Xinjiang. Many Uighurs are critical of Chinese rule, saying that authorities deprive them of political and religious rights.
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