Obama admits defeat on Camp X-Ray closure

President Barack Obama admitted yesterday what his aides and other Washington insiders have known for months: that his deadline for closing the Camp X-Ray prison inside the Guantanamo Bay naval base on 22 January – the first anniversary of his coming into office – will not now be met.

"I knew it was going to be hard," Mr Obama told an interviewer with Fox News, before leaving China for South Korea on the last leg of his Asian tour.

"We are on a path and a process where I would anticipate that Guantanamo will be closed next year," he added, but declined to offer a new date.

The pledge to close Guantanamo was part of Mr Obama's push to dissociate himself from the anti-terror policies of George Bush. At the same time, he also outlawed the use of torture on terror suspects.

However, the Guantanamo promise has proved hard to honour, not least because of the difficulty of deciding where the detainees should go. Other countries have been reluctant to take the inmates, but holding them in facilities on American soil is proving to be equally problematic.