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White House Wrapping Up Guantanamo Prison Closure Plan

  • VOA News

FILE - A U.S. soldier stands in the turret of a vehicle with a machine gun, left, as a guard looks out from a tower at the Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba, March 30, 2010.

FILE - A U.S. soldier stands in the turret of a vehicle with a machine gun, left, as a guard looks out from a tower at the Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba, March 30, 2010.

The White House confirmed Wednesday that the administration was in the "final stages" of drafting a plan to close the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

President Barack Obama made the closure of the controversial offshore prison a priority when he took office in 2009, but the plan has faced numerous setbacks, including Congress' efforts to block the transfer of detainees to U.S. prisons.

But White House press secretary Josh Earnest said Wednesday that closing Guantanamo remained a priority.

Inmates have slowly been transferred out, and 116 inmates now remain at the facility.

Established by the former George W. Bush administration after the attacks of September 11, 2001, Guantanamo Bay once held nearly 800 enemy combatants captured in the war on terrorism.

Obama has long maintained the facility does more harm than good by staining America’s reputation on the world stage and serving as a recruiting tool for terrorist groups. Republican backers of Guantanamo Bay say it is an indispensable tool for holding and interrogating America’s enemies, and they note that some detainees released from the camp have again taken up arms against the United States.

Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez called for the return of the Guantanamo Bay territory to Cuba while he was in Washington this week.

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