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US officials discussing Guantanamo closure with UK counterparts

[JURIST] A senior US State Department official has indicated that US officials are talking with their British counterparts about how to eventually close the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive]. US State Deputy Assistant Secretary Colleen Graffy [official profile] told the BBC Sunday that "continuous discussion" was going on and that “hopefully, over the years, we will find a way to either release them to their country of origin or they will declare that they no longer want to kill us.” London’s Independent newspaper meanwhile reported Sunday that on a visit to London [JURIST report] last week, US Attorney General Alberto Gonzales [official profile] sought British advice on a UK initiative to deport [JURIST report] some UK terrorism suspects back to their countries of origins and sign agreements to avoid their torture or mistreatment.

The revelations come as Prime Minister Tony Blair [BBC profile] faces pressure to condemn the detention facility and take a tougher stance with President Bush. There are approximately 490 detainees in Guantanamo Bay, most of whom have been there for over three years. Reuters has more.

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