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Obama administration planning more transfers of Guantanamo Bay detainees


The State Department said Tuesday that it plans on moving more terrorist detainees out of U.S. facilities in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and into facilities in other countries.

Spokeswoman Marie Harf announced these plans as she announced the resignation of Cliff Sloan, who served for about 18 months as State's special envoy on Guantanamo closure.

Screen Shot 2014-12-23 at 4.51.56 PM Secretary of State John Kerry is planning more transfers of Guantanamo Bay detainees, a process that has led to some criticism from Congress.
Image: AP Photo/Evan Vucci

"Under Cliff's leadership, and because of his skill in leading our diplomatic negotiations with our foreign partners, over the past 18 months we have transferred 34 detainees from Gitmo, with more transfers to come," she said.

"He leaves us on a very strong footing, and with a clear path toward reducing the detainee population in a responsible manner, and to closing, ultimately, the detention facility," Harf added.

Harf said there were 166 detainees in Guantanamo Bay when Sloan started in the middle of 2013, and that there are now 132 left. She said 64 of them have been approved for transfer to other countries, while several others may be considered for transfer.

She said transfers are only being made once the U.S. receives assurances from other countries that they are able and willing to hold these prisoners in a way that satisfies U.S. security concerns. But she offered no other details about the process.

Some of the transfers have led to criticism from Congress, such as the decision to release some detainees in return for Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl.

Secretary of State John Kerry tweeted his thanks to Sloan earlier in the day, and the State Department said it should be able to announce someone to replace Sloan in the coming weeks.

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