Palau Is Taking Gitmo Detainees. So What's Palau?

By Drew Nelles,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 12, 2009 5:25 PM CDT
Palau can probably stop worrying that the expected arrival of 13 Guantanamo detainees might scare off tourists. The diving is just too spectacular.   (AP Photo/Itsuo Inouye)
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(Newser) – When the island nation of Palau agreed to help President Obama close Gitmo by taking in 13 detainees, few Americans had heard of the tiny country. But the US and Palau share a close bond, NPR reports. “It’s a small island nation, but its status as a sovereign nation depends on the United States," says Palau’s president, who describes their relationship as "symbiotic."

The two countries are bound by a “compact of free association” that gives Palau's 20,000 citizens access to American jobs and education. In exchange, Palau allows the US to build military bases. Attractions like Jellyfish Lake, home to 20 million stingless jellyfish, also make the island a popular tourist destination. “The publicity that Palau has received has been priceless,” says a business owner of the Gitmo agreement.
(Read more Palau stories.)