MOSCOW, December 24 (Sputnik) – US President Barack Obama has advanced efforts to close the notorious Guantanamo Bay detention centre and plans to conduct a number of prisoner transfers over the next six months, the Washington Post newspaper reported Wednesday citing senior US officials.
"He [Obama] does not want to leave this [closing of the Guantanamo prison] to his successor," Paul Lewis, the Pentagon's special envoy for shutting down Guantanamo, said in an interview with the Washington Post.
US officials confirmed that they plan to significantly reduce the number of detainees during the next six months and are currently negotiating with the countries that are expected to accept the 64 prisoners, who have already been approved for a transfer, according to the newspaper.
By the end of the year five detainees will be sent to countries prepared to host them and five or six transfers are expected be conducted in January 2015, the newspaper said citing officials.
On Friday, Obama stressed the importance of closing down the Guantanamo Bay detention camp, as he signed the 2015 defense authorization act, which prohibits moving detainees from the notorious prison.
The detention facility, located in Cuba, has been the subject of harsh criticism by human rights groups, governments and media since its establishment in 2002. Health workers, inspectors and former detainees have described the conditions at the camp as cruel and inhumane, reporting the use of torture.
Obama signed an order for the closure of Guantanamo Bay in 2009, describing it as a "sad chapter in American history". The closure has not yet taken place.