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USA - LITHUANIA

Lithuania debates conditions to host Guantanamo detainees

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Lithuanian authorities have started to debate the legal and technical framework in which to accept former Guantanamo detainees in the wake of US President Barack Obama's decision to close the suspected terrorists' camp.

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AFP - Lithuania is to begin talks with the US on accepting Guantanamo prisoners, the country's foreign affairs minister said Wednesday.

"I have been instructed to begin consultations with the US administration regarding the technical, legal and security aspects of hosting persons held at Guantanamo," Lithuanian Foreign Minister Vygaudas Usackas said in Vilnius.

"It was the request of our partners. This is an issue of respecting our obligations," Prime Minister Andrius Kubilius added.

"There is no concrete date (for the start of talks) at the moment," Latvia's foreign ministry spokesman Rolandas Kacinkas told AFP later Wednesday in a telephone interview.

No comment was available from the US embassy in Vilnius Wednesday.

Last month Lithuania said it was prepared to begin talks with the US on taking Guantanamo prisoners if Washington would forward such a proposal.

US President Barack Obama has said he intends to close the "war on terror" prison created by his predecessor George W. Bush within a year, but few states in Europe have signalled a readiness to cooperate given the unclear legal status of the 245 inmates held by the US in a prison at its Guantanamo military facility on Cuba.
 

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