EU wary of accepting Gitmo detainees

Jan. 27, 2009 at 7:49 PM

BRUSSELS, Jan. 27 (UPI) -- European governments are split on whether to accept prisoners being held at the U.S. detention camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, observers say.

The Washington Post reported Tuesday that while Europe is largely supportive of the Obama administration's decision to close the prison, few have made promises to accept prisoners into their countries.

The newspaper reported that on Tuesday foreign ministers from the 27 members of the European Union met in

Brussels to discuss ways to resettle Guantanamo prisoners.

"This is an American problem that they have to solve, but we'll be ready to help if necessary," said Javier Solana, the European Union's commissioner for foreign and security affairs. "Whenever they ask for help, I think the European answer will be 'Yes.'"

The Pentagon says about 60 of the 245 prisoners in Guantanamo have been cleared for release but legally cannot be returned to their home countries -- nations such as Syria, Somalia and Libya -- because of risks that they could be tortured or abused there.

Britain, the Netherlands, Austria and Denmark have rejected the idea of accepting detainees, saying that it is the United States' responsibility to find homes for them.

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