US asks Spain to take four Guantanamo detainees

June 17th, 2009 - 9:32 pm ICT by IANS  

Madrid, June 17 (DPA) The US has asked Spain to take four detainees from its Guantanamo prison camp when it is closed next year, Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos said Wednesday.
Moratinos spoke in Madrid after Spanish government representatives met Daniel Fried, the US special envoy for closing Guantanamo.

Madrid would study the four cases before giving Washington an answer, Moratinos said.

He did not give the nationalities of the four detainees. However, the US had been expected to offer Syrians and Tunisians who had asked to come to Spain, according to the daily El Pais.

Moratinos said the US might ask Spain to take more Guantanamo inmates later on.

The government was willing to “help in closing Guantanamo in the full measure of its possibilities”, the foreign ministry said in a press release.

Spain was one of the first countries to announce its willingness to receive Guantanamo inmates.

Spain has offered to take Guantanamo prisoners on the condition that they have no link to Spain and that have not been charged with terrorism, according to media reports.

The Guantanamo inmates could request political asylum or an international protection status, which would allow them to enjoy Spanish social security benefits, El Pais cited diplomatic sources as saying.

The former inmates could move freely in Spain, but not leave the country.

The US and the European Union have agreed on a framework for EU countries to accept detainees.

About 230 prisoners remain at Guantanamo, the controversial prison camp within the US military facility in Cuba, created by former US president George W. Bush.

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