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Lithuania Considers Taking in Guantanamo Prisoners


Lithuania said it is to hold talks with the United States on accepting some of the inmates being held at the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Foreign Minister Vygaudas Usackas said Wednesday in Vilnius that he has been instructed to begin consultations with the administration of U.S. President Barack Obama regarding the issue. It was not clear when talks would take place and there was no immediate comment from U.S. officials.

The United States has previously tried to persuade the 27-nation European Union to accept inmates from the prison, but has not succeeded. Many European countries that have called for Guantanamo's closure are now debating whether to accept ex-detainees after they are released.

President Obama signed an order last month to close the controversial facility within one year, but some U.S. lawmakers have voiced concerns that shutting Guantanamo may allow some dangerous inmates to be set free.

Separately, Canada's three opposition parties have written to President Obama, asking him to return a Canadian being held at Guantanamo.

Omar Khadr was 15 years old when he was arrested for allegedly killing an American soldier in Afghanistan in 2002. Now 22, he is the only western detainee left at the prison.

The opposition parties asked President Obama to acknowledge Khadr's status as a child soldier and return him promptly. They said if Khadr is to face charges, it should be in Canada. President Obama visits Canada February 19 for meetings with Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

Mr. Harper's Conservative government refuses to intervene in the case, saying it would allow the U.S. proceedings to unfold.

Separately, Britain said the U.S. has agreed to let British diplomats visit a former British resident being held at Guantanamo and prepare him for release.

Foreign Secretary David Miliband said Wednesday that the team will check on the health of Ethiopian-born Binyam Mohammed. He has been on a hunger strike since January to protest his detention and alleges he was tortured. The Pentagon dropped terrorism charges against him last year.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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