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Obama Considering Prolonged Terror Detentions


U.S. President Barack Obama is still struggling with what to do with the most dangerous terror detainees at the prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The president addressed this and other issues in a wide-ranging interview with a domestic wire service.

The new U.S. administration has been struggling over what to do with the detainees at Guantanamo Bay, ever since, in his first days in office, President Obama ordered the American prison closed by next January. The president says dealing with terror suspects, most who have been held for years, will be one of his biggest challenges.

Mr. Obama tells the Associated Press he would consider moving some detainees from Guantanamo to other locations for long periods. But he says he may not be comfortable with any specific plans for doing that. "It gives me huge pause and that is why we are going to proceed very carefully on this front," he said.

Mr. Obama says some detainees are not a good fit for prosecution in the United States or under international law.

This week in Afghanistan, 4,000 U.S. Marines and hundreds of Afghan security forces faced sporadic resistance as they moved into Taliban strongholds in Afghanistan's Helmand province.

It marks the first major operation under Mr. Obama's strategy for stabilizing the country. He was asked about the operation in the wide ranging interview. "I have a very narrow definition of success when it comes to our national security interests and that is that Al-Qaida and its affiliates cannot set-up safe havens from which to attack Americans," he said.

Mr. Obama is preparing for a week-long overseas trip, highlighted by his meetings with Russian leaders in Moscow.

He will consult with both Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, on nuclear arms control and other issues.

The president says Mr. Medvedev understands that the Cold War approach to U.S.-Russian relations is outdated, but that Mr. Putin has not totally changed his thinking. "I think Putin has one foot in the old way of doing business and one foot in the new," he said.

But Mr. Obama says he believes it is important to meet with both leaders, because Mr. Putin still holds a great deal of power in Russia. "I think meeting with the Prime Minister ensures that he and Medvedev are hearing the same things and seeing the same things so they can move in concert in cooperating with us on some critical issues," he said.

Mr. Obama will also participate in a G-8 economic summit in Italy, and will visit Ghana, in his first trip to Africa as president.

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