Obama 'serious' about shutting Guantanamo

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The Independent US

President Barack Obama has declared that he is "serious" about shutting Guantanamo Bay amid speculation that a January deadline for its closure may be pushed back.

At a fundraising event in Miami, the president reiterated his pledge to move all detainees off the controversial Cuban base.

He made no mention of when the process would be complete, stoking speculation that the planned closure is behind schedule.

The decision to shut Guantanamo Bay was one of the first announcements made after the inauguration of President Obama at the beginning of the year.

In an executive order signed on January 22, it was determined that the controversial detention camp would be shut down within a year.

Since then the closure plans have been beset with logistical problems, not least finding a place to rehouse inmates deemed too dangerous to be freed.

More than 220 detainees remain at Guantanamo Bay nine months after the closure order was made.

Senior White House officials have suggested that the deadline may have to slip due to issues still to be resolved.

But speaking in Miami last night, Mr Obama vowed that the camp, which has been the focus of persistent criticism by human rights groups since it was opened in 2002, will be closed.

He said: "We are going to close Guantanamo. We are serious about that."

But he did not repeat the pledge to shut the facility by January 2010.