U.S. getting mixed Guantanamo messages

Oct. 17, 2006 at 6:53 AM
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WASHINGTON, Oct. 17 (UPI) -- The U.S. government is being peppered with international demands for the closure of the Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, prison, but few countries want the inmates back.

Most recently, British Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett called for the closure of the "unacceptable" prison for terror suspects, but The Washington Post learned the British government has rejected an offer to accept 10 Britons being held there.

Germany has also balked since 2002 at allowing a German native who holds Turkish citizenship, Murat Kurnaz, to return even though he has been cleared of having al-Qaida connections.

Of some 435 prisoners from 40 countries, the U.S. government only has plans to put as many as 80 before a military commission and the remainder could be released. However, many of their native countries don't want them or have challenged their nationalities, the Post said.

"We think countries whose nationals are in Guantanamo ought to take responsibility for them," John Bellinger, the State Department's chief legal adviser, told the newspaper.

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