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Portugal agrees to take in 'two or three' inmates

Text by NEWS WIRES

Latest update : 2009-06-21

Portugal will accept "two or three" prisoners from the notorious Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba, Foreign Minister Luis Amado said Saturday. The US has struggled to relocate Guantanamo inmates following President Obama’s call to close the prison.

AFP - Portugal said it was ready to take in "two or three" detainees from the United States' Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba, Foreign Minister Luis Amado said Saturday.

The announcement follows a visit to Lisbon by US Special Envoy Daniel Fried, who has already visited Spain and Hungary to ask those countries to accept Guantanamo inmates.

"We will accept two or three prisoners. Now, it's up to us, internally, to carry out the necessary procedures to welcome them," Lusa news agency quoted Amado as saying on the sidelines of a ceremony in the central town of Obidos.

Amado said that the question of the ex-prisoners' status was currently being studied by the interior ministry.

EU foreign ministers on Monday endorsed a deal with the United States on transferring Guantanamo inmates to Europe, while stressing that the decision to accept any inmate was up to individual European governments.

US President Barack Obama has vowed to shut down Guantanamo by January, and Washington has been pushing for other countries to accept inmates ready to be released with no charges against them.

Last week nine were transferred to Chad, Iraq and Bermuda, while Italy announced Monday that it would accept three.

Then president George W. Bush set up the Guantanamo camp at a US military base in remote southeastern Cuba in 2002 to house "war on terror" detainees.

Date created : 2009-06-21

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