U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder has acknowledged that it will be difficult to meet the January 22, 2010 deadline to close the U.S. detention center for terrorism suspects at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
But Holder told reporters Tuesday that officials will try to meet that goal, saying the prison will eventually be closed.
Holder made his comment days after the House of Representatives voted to block detainees at Guantanamo from being transferred to U.S. soil. The measure last Thursday passed by a vote of 258 to 163, drawing support from both Democrats and Republicans.
President Barack Obama has said he wants to close Guantanamo by next January. He says closing the facility is crucial to restoring America's image in the world and to creating a more effective anti-terror approach.
Defense Secretary Robert Gates has said that closing the facility has proven more complicated than anticipated. Many members of the U.S. Congress also have voiced concerns about bringing terrorism suspects to the United States.
A task force has cleared 75 of the remaining 223 Guantanamo prisoners for release as part of an effort to close the facility. The review team has been examining each prisoner's case to determine who will be held for trial and who can be sent home or resettled in other countries.
Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.