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EU leaders discuss Guantanamo detainee transfer details with US officials

[JURIST] Top officials from the Obama administration met with leaders from the European Union (EU) [official website; JURIST news archive] Monday to discuss plans to transfer detainees from Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive] to European countries. US Attorney General Eric Holder [official profile] met with the delegation headed by European Justice and Security Commissioner Jacques Barrot [official profile] and Czech Interior Minister Ivan Langer [official profile, in Czech] to encourage the EU's cooperation in closing the Guantanamo Bay facility by the end of the year. The US officials assured the EU that the US will provide background information [NYT report] pertaining to each prisoner to allow European countries to decide whether to accept them. EU members had previously expressed concern [JURIST report] over accepting detainees without first examining potential safety and security implications. The US is seeking European cooperation because of potential legal issues associated with keeping Guantanamo Bay detainees on US soil after the facility closes. The leaders remained in Washington Tuesday to continue discussions.

Last month, the European Parliament encouraged EU member nations to accept former Guantanamo prisoners soon after President Obama ordered the closure of the detention center [JURIST reports] in February. Spain, Ireland, and Portugal [JURIST reports] have already expressed their willingness to host detainees. Other EU members, including Poland [JURIST report], Sweden, the Netherlands, and the Czech Republic [Financial Times report], have expressed strong reservations to doing so.

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