US welcomes Belgian offer to take some Guantanamo detainees

23rd May 2009, Comments 0 comments

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Friday welcomed Belgium's offer to accept some former detainees from the US prison camp in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

WASHINGTON - Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Friday welcomed Belgium's offer to accept some former detainees from the US prison camp in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

"We're very grateful for the cooperation and assistance that Belgium and other countries have offered," Clinton said after a meeting with Belgian Deputy Prime Minister Karel De Gucht.

"As President (Barack) Obama proceeds with the closure of Guantanamo, we'll be discussing that," she said. "There is a lot of work ahead of us to be sure that we are fully able to produce the kind of information and responses that Belgium and other countries are looking for. But we're very appreciative."

In an interview Friday on Belgian radio VRT De Gucht signaled that Belgium was ready to consider accepting a number of detainees freed from the facility if it were shut down.

"We are ready to look seriously at whether we can take some of these detainees into Belgium and that is appreciated by the Americans," he said.

The number of detainees was expected to be limited but the Belgian diplomat stressed that the principle was important.

France last week took in Algerian former detainee Lakhdar Boumediene, 42. He can stay in France but his visa does not allow him to move freely among countries in Europe that have open border agreements with France.

France was to give him assistance with job training and a job search, sources close to his case said.

AFP / Expatica

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