EU officials set for talks with US on Guantanamo
EU officials will be in Washington next week for talks with their US counterparts about President Barack Obama's plans to ask European countries to take some prisoners of the prisoners held at Guantanamo Bay, dpa reported.
The European Union's top justice official, Commissioner Jacques Barrot, and Czech Interior Minister Ivan Langer, whose country holds the rotating EU presidency, are expected to outline conditions for relocating detainees.
They will meet with US Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and Attorney General Eric Holder, who is playing a lead role in the administration's effort to close the Guantanamo prison within a year.
Obama has been hopeful that European countries will be more willing to accept detainees now that former president George W Bush is out of office. Bush's policies in the war on terrorism alienated much of Europe.
The Obama administration is reviewing all of the remaining 245 cases at Guantanamo to determine which detainees can be prosecuted, transferred to other countries or released, and is expected to ask European governments to host some of the prisoners.
The issue has divided the European Union. Some countries have expressed a willingness to consider US transfer requests, while others have ruled out taking prisoners.
Complicating the matter are EU rules that allow people to freely move from country to country with limited or no border checks. Barrot and Langer are expected to demand that all EU states receive complete information from the US government about any of the detainees who are candidates for possible transfer.
Only about 20 detainees at Guantanamo were formally charged under the military commissions established by Bush. Obama suspended those proceedings pending the review of Guantanamo.
The Pentagon has identified about 60 inmates who no longer pose a threat and can be transferred, but the United States has been reluctant to send them back to their native countries over concerns that they could be tortured.