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Bush Rejects German Call to Close Guantanamo


President Bush has rejected a call from German Chancellor Angela Merkel to close the Guantanamo Bay prison.

Speaking to reporters at the White House Friday, Mr. Bush said the terror suspect prison at a U.S. naval base in Cuba is needed to protect the American people.

Germany has been a vocal critic of the detention camp, which holds suspects indefinitely, most of them without charge. Ms. Merkel said she made "very clear" to Mr. Bush during their meeting Friday that the U.S. needs to come up with new ways to deal with detainees who, as she put it, "do not feel bound by any law."

Both the U.S. and German leaders pointed to the need for greater openness and contacts on all issues, including peace in the Balkans, relations with China and Russia, and the challenges of globalization.

Mr. Bush was asked about reports that German agents in Baghdad helped the U.S. military during the invasion of Iraq. The U.S. leader said that before Ms. Merkel raised the subject Friday, he had heard nothing about it.

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