20 May 2013

Chances of relocating Uighurs from Palau slim: President

6:39 am on 20 May 2013

Palau's President says the chances of formally relocating a group of former terror suspects living in Palau remain slim.

Six men from China's largely Muslim Xinjiang province were captured during the US-led war in Afghanistan in 2001 and jailed in the Guantanamo Bay facility before being relocated to Palau in 2009.

The US had not wanted to send the men back to China, where they are still considered to be terror suspects.

Tommy Remengesau says the agreement to house the Uighurs on Palau was only temporary and the money the US gave the country to look after them has gone.

He says the men are miserable on Palau.

"We feel sorry for these people, we understand that they're not happy here, this is not their kind of environment to stay here on any long-term basis. They want to leave Palau and as much as our hospitality is there we can only sustain them for a period of time."

Tommy Remengesau says he hasn't heard anything from the US about efforts to resettle the men, but Palau is unable to cope with them for much longer.

The US State Department never responded to requests for comment.