The White House has said that it is in the final stages of drafting a plan to close the notorious American military prison at Guantanamo Bay.
The detention centre, which became known for its harsh and sometimes cruel treatment of prisoners, is located within Guantanamo Bay Naval Base in Cuba. It became home to many suspected terrorists who were detained during the War on Terror, many of whom had been transported there from Afghanistan and Iraq.
Barack Obama pledged to close down the camp during his first Presidential campaign in 2008. Now, seven years later, his promise is coming close to being fulfilled.
Speaking to the press, White House spokesman Josh Earnest said the Obama administration hoped to "short circuit" opposition from Republicans in Congress, who have previously blocked attempts to close the prison.
In pictures: Timeline of US and Cuba relations
In pictures: Timeline of US and Cuba relations
1/19 Cuba timeline
July 1953: Fidel Castro begins a revolutionary campaign against the regime of Cuban President Fulgencio Batista
2/19 Cuba timeline
January 1959: Castro and Che Guevara enter Havana after a successful final offensive. Batista flees, and Castro becomes prime minister, ruling by decree
3/19 Cuba timeline
October 1960: Castro’s reforms sees hundreds of US businesses in Cuba nationalised and their owners not compensated. In December, US US breaks off diplomatic relations and imposes a trade embargo
4/19 Cuba timeline
April 1961: Cuban exiles launch the Bay of Pigs invasion with US backing
5/19 Cuba timeline
October 1962: A 13-day confrontation known as the Cuban missile crisis begins when Castro allows the USSR to deploy nuclear missiles on the island. Generally regarded as the closest the world has come to nuclear war
6/19 Cuba timeline
1962: US President John F Kennedy signs off a naval blockade
7/19 Cuba timeline
April 1980: A sharp downturn in the Cuban economy and Castro temporarily lifting restrictions sees around 125,000 people, many of them released convicts, flee to the US
8/19 Cuba timeline
February 1996: Cuba shoots down two US aircraft operated by Miami-based Cuban exiles, prompting the US to make its trade embargo permanent
9/19 Cuba timeline
June 2001: The case of the “Cuban Five” begins, as five spies in Miami are convicted of providing intelligence to the Havana government
10/19 Cuba timeline
Nov 2001: US sells $30m of food to the Cuban government to assist in the aftermath of Hurricane Michelle, which killed 22 people, the first food export between the countries for more than 40 years
11/19 Cuba timeline
Oct 2003: US President George W Bush announces fresh anti-communist measures, including tightening the travel embargo and creating a new government body, the Commission for Assistance to a Free Cuba
12/19 Cuba timeline
Aug 2006: President Bush seizes the opportunity of President Castro’s illness and a handover of powers to Raul Castro, urging Cubans to work towards democratic change
13/19 Cuba timeline
Feb 2008: Raul Castro officially takes over as president. Washington responds by saying its trade embargo will remain in force unless free and fair elections are held
14/19 Cuba timeline
Dec 2008: A poll by Florida International University suggests for the first time that a majority of Cuban-Americans living in Miami want an end to the embargo
15/19 Cuba timeline
April 2009: President Obama lifts restrictions on family travel to Cuba
16/19 Cuba timeline
Dec 2009: US aid worker Alan Gross is detained in Cuba on suspicion of spying for Washington
17/19 Cuba timeline
Nov 2010: American Ballet Theatre performs in Cuba for the first time in 50 years, the most high-profile in a series of cultural exchanges
18/19 Cuba timeline
Sep 2012: Cuba hints at its willingness to do a deal with Washington on the Gross case
19/19 Cuba timeline
December 2013: President Obama and Raul Castro shake hands at the memorial service for Nelson Mandela. Castro says in English: “Mr President, I am Castro.” It was hailed in Cuba as “the beginning of the end” for what were then described as “US aggressions”
The New York Times reported that White House national security adviser Susan Rice had met with Defence Secretary Ash Carter, and said he would have 30 days to transfer prisoners from Guantanamo if it was closed.
Republicans have said that moving Guantanamo prisoners to other countries may eventually lead to their freedom, and the chance that they could again try to harm the USA.
Clifford Sloan, a former Obama envoy charged with closing the prison, said he thought it was "very unfortunate" that the closure of the prison "has become a partisan issue."
There are currently 116 prisoners at the prison. As well as being a point of criticism from organisations like the Red Cross, the United Nations and the European Union, mood in Washington has also largely turned against it, due to fears it is used as a propaganda tool by America's enemies in recruitment.
Earnest said closure plans would be shared with lawmakers once they are complete.Reuse content