Guantanamo Bay must be dealt with, Blair tells Merkel

17th February 2006, Comments 0 comments

17 February 2006, BERLIN - British Prime Minister Tony Blair said Friday the US prison for terror suspects at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba would have to be "dealt with" but deflected questions over whether it should be immediately closed down.

17 February 2006

BERLIN - British Prime Minister Tony Blair said Friday the US prison for terror suspects at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba would have to be "dealt with" but deflected questions over whether it should be immediately closed down.

"It's an anomaly and sooner or later it's got to be dealt with," said Blair at a news conference after talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

He declined to make any further comments on the subject.

Merkel's deputy spokesman, Thomas Steg, told reporters that Germany had long maintained the Guantanamo facility "did not conform with our legal understanding."

Jens Ploetner, a German Foreign Ministry spokesman, said Berlin had long raised questions over conditions at the Guantanamo facility.

"An institution like Guantanamo cannot be maintained in the long-term," said Ploetner, adding that a different way had to be found to hold terror suspects.

The Guantanamo prison was set up in 2002 to hold foreign terror suspects, many of whom were captured during the US-led war which toppled the Taleban in Afghanistan.

There are currently about 500 prisoners being held at Guantanamo, most of whom are nationals of Afghanistan, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Yemen.

DPA

Subject: German news

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