Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Obama says Guantanamo must close, vows to ‘re-engage with Congress’

AFP Photo / Jim Watson  

US President Barack Obama has pledged to re-engage with Congress in an effort to shut the Guantanamo Bay prison. He also praised Russia for being “very cooperative” in the Boston Marathon bombing investigation.

In his first public response to the ongoing hunger strike at the Cuban-based US detention camp, Obama reaffirmed his commitment to closing the facility, saying “it is not a surprise” there are “problems in Guantanamo.”

“It is critical for us to understand that Guantanamo is not necessary to keep America safe. It is expensive. It is inefficient. It hurts us in terms of our international standing. It lessens cooperation with our allies on counterterrorism efforts. It is a recruitment tool for extremists. It needs to be closed,” the US President said in his Tuesday speech.

The White House administration will “review everything that’s currently being done in Guantanamo,” Obama said, promising to “re-engage with Congress to try to make the case that this is not something that’s in the best interests of the American people.”

Responding to the question of the force-feeding of at least 21 of the 100 Guantanamo inmates, the President said he believes the “Pentagon is trying to manage the situation as best as they can,” adding that he doesn’t want “these individuals to die.”

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