France calls Guantanamo an 'embarrassment'

20th February 2006, Comments 0 comments

WASHINGTON, Feb 19, 2006 (AFP) - The British, French and German ambassadors to Washington said Sunday that the United States must close its Guantanamo "war on terror" detention camp which the French envoy called "an embarrassment".

WASHINGTON, Feb 19, 2006 (AFP) - The British, French and German ambassadors to Washington said Sunday that the United States must close its Guantanamo "war on terror" detention camp which the French envoy called "an embarrassment".

The ambassadors stepped up international pressure on US authorities after a report by UN human rights experts called for the camp at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba to be shut as soon as possible.

"Guantanamo is an embarrassment, and so it has to be solved one way or the other," French ambassador Jean-David Levitte during an appearance by the three envoys on CNN television.

The German ambassador Wolfgang Ischinger was equally outspoken.

"The sooner it is closed the better it will be for the image of the United States, not only as a military and political (power) but also as a moral leader in the world," Ischinger said.

British ambassador Sir David Manning reaffirmed Prime Tony Blair's comment this week that the US camp for detainees seized in the global offensive launched after the September 11, 2001 attacks was "an anomaly".

"We understand the context. You've lost a lot of people," said Manning. "It's difficult to find the right line to draw between your duties as a government for security and safeguarding liberty, but it is clearly an anomaly and it needs to be dealt with".

Guantanamo, which has about 500 inmates most of whom have never been charged, has again been in an international spotlight this week.

After the report by UN human rights experts which said some practices at the camp were tantamount to torture, UN Secretary General Kofi Annan said that "sooner or later" Guantanamo will have to be closed.

The United States has has rejected calls for the camp to be shut and Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said Annan was "flat wrong" to call for its closure.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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