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US AG to ask European countries to accept Guantanamo detainees within weeks

[JURIST] US Attorney General Eric Holder [official profile] said Wednesday that the US has cleared 30 Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive] detainees for release and will begin formally requesting that European countries accept them within weeks. During a European tour, Holder told reporters in Germany that no formal requests have been made [AFP report], but that he has been encouraged by the generally positive responses he has received thus far. Holder met with several European officials [AP report] Tuesday for preliminary talks on accepting detainees. European leaders reiterated their request for full background information [JURIST report] on any detainee they were asked to accept.

Earlier this week, Holder met with UK Justice Minister Jack Straw [official profile], who said that his country would still be willing to consider a US request to take in Guantanamo Bay detainees if doing so would aid in the closure of the facility. Earlier this month, France agreed [JURIST report] to accept one Guantanamo detainee. Last month, top officials from the Obama administration met with leaders from the European Union (EU) [official website] to discuss preliminary plans to transfer [JURIST report] Guantanamo Bay detainees to European countries. Individual member states have also indicated their openness to accepting detainees, including Lithuania, Ireland, Germany, and Portugal [JURIST reports]. Other states have expressed reservations about accepting detainees, including Poland and Spain, while Italy [JURIST reports] and the Netherlands [AFP report] have said they will not accept detainees.

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