German minister says US responsible for freed Guantanamo detainees

Other News Materials 21 January 2009 14:16 (UTC +04:00)

The United States is responsible for the fate of detainees released from the US prison camp at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba, German Interior Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said Wednesday.

"If they come from countries whose human rights record makes it impossible for them to be sent back there, then they will have to remain in the United States," he said in a newspaper interview.

The minister told the Frankfurter Rundschau that he did not see why countries in the European Union should provide sanctuary to people who are too dangerous for the United States, reported dpa.

US President Barack Obama is expected to order the closure of the detention centre for terrorist suspects and begin exploring ways to deal with the 250 detainees who remain at the camp.

Most of the remaining detainees have been held for years without charges, tarnishing the standing of the United States in the world.

Shortly after taking office on Tuesday, Obama initiated moves to suspend prosecutions at the prison camp for 120 days.

Schaeuble indirectly criticized German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, who has said Germany would consider granting asylum to released detainees from Guantanamo.

Schaeuble said a decision on such matters did not rest with Steinmeier but with the Interior Ministry and the interior ministers of Germany's 16 federal states.

A German government spokesman last week said Germany had not "fully defined its position" on the issue, but favoured a "European solution."