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Portugal to take Guantanamo inmates
Foreign minister says his country will accept "two or three" prisoners from US camp.
Last Modified: 21 Jun 2009 18:33 GMT
Amado said the status of the detainees would likely be defined by the interior ministry next week [EPA]

Portugal will accept "two or three" prisoners for resettlement from the US detention camp in Cuba's Guantanamo Bay, Luis Amado, the country's foreign minister, has said.

In December, Portugal became the first country to press publicly for a co-ordinated European Union resettlement plan for Guantanamo prisoners.

"We'll receive two or three prisoners, but we now have to, internally, make the necessary procedures to go ahead with receiving them," Amado was quoted as saying by state news agency Lusa on Saturday.

Spain and Italy have already offered to take a few detainees each.

The EU announced on Monday that European nations are ready to help Washington and take detainees on a case-by-case basis.

The US government has faced opposition to releasing them in the US.

Detainee status

Amado met Daniel Fried, the US assistant secretary of state for European affairs in charge of resettling negotiations, on Friday.

He said the status of the detainees to be resettled in the Iberian country would be defined by the interior ministry probably next week.

Fried's job is to find host countries for the more than 200 detainees that Washington chose not to prosecute.

Guantanamo Bay, opened under George Bush, the former US president, after the September 11, 2001, attacks on the US, attracted international criticism for holding prisoners indefinitely, many without charge.

Barack Obama, the US president, ordered the Guantanamo facility to be closed by January 2010 and the inmates either face trial or be released.

Source:
Al Jazeera and agencies
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