US renews efforts to transfer Gitmo detainees
WASHINGTON (PAN): The Obama administration is renewing its efforts to repatriate or transfer detainees at the Guantanamo Bay detention centre, the White House said on Wednesday.
“One of the options available to us that we're examining is reappointing a senior official at the State Department to renew our focus on repatriating or transferring detainees that we determine can be returned to their home countries or third countries,” the White House press secretary said.
Jay Carney, addressing a news conference a day after President Barack Obama reiterated his resolve to close down the prison, said neatly 50 percent of the detainees were from Yemen, whose transfer had been on hold.
“That is a significant bloc and it is one reason why there are the numbers of detainees at Guantanamo who remain there. But that moratorium is in place because there was a transfer of detainees that resulted in their release,” he added.
“It was the judgment that we made that it was no longer the right thing to transfer detainees when we had agreements from the host government to keep them incarcerated,” the official continued.
He said the US would work to fully implement the periodic review board process, which had not moved forward quickly enough. “We are going to continue to work to get that implemented so that it is up and standing.”
Carney alleged there were obstacles being thrown up by Congress, including its refusal to provide the funding that would allow the transfer of detainees to incarceration facilities in the United States.
“They have circumscribed our ability to take action on this front in other ways. So we have to work with Congress and try to convince members that the overriding interest here in terms of our national security as well as our budget is to close Guantanamo Bay,” he concluded.
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