Some European Union foreign ministers meeting in Brussels Monday were unenthusiastic about accepting former detainees from the U.S. detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba once the Obama administration makes good its promise to close the facility.
European foreign ministers expressed their support for U.S. President Barack Obama's pledge to shut down the Guantanamo Bay facility. But during talks in Brussels, they were unable to adopt a common approach toward accepting detainees.
While voicing a general willingness to assist the United States in closing Guantanamo, EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana said the European Union is waiting from Washington to act first.
"This is an [U.S.] administration problem that they have to solve. But we will be willing to help, if necessary," he said. "But this is first a question that has to be resolved within the American administration and they have to ask for help if they need it. I think the answer in the European Union will be, 'Yes.'"
But Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg of the Czech Republic, which currently holds the rotating EU presidency, said most member states were lukewarm about that proposition.
He told reporters that the EU would not be able to give a quick answer to taking in Guantanamo detainees due to legal concerns and that, so far, Washington has not made an official request.
While some European politicians have suggested their countries might welcome detainees, others say Guantanamo Bay is an American problem that Washington needs to fix.