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    The State Department is working closely with the White House to appoint a new special envoy for Guantanamo Closure, who will lead all diplomatic engagement related to closing the detention facility at Guantanamo, the State Department spokesperson said.

    WASHINGTON, December 31 (Sputnik) – The US Department of State (DOS) is working with the White House to find a new special envoy to close the Guantanamo Bay detention facility amid the current envoy's departure on Wednesday and US President Barack Obama's vow to close the prison before he leaves office, a DOS spokesperson told Sputnik.

    "The State Department is working closely with the White House to appoint a new Special Envoy for Guantanamo Closure who will lead all diplomatic engagement related to closing the detention facility at Guantanamo," the Department of State spokesperson told Sputnik on Wednesday.

    Although the Department of State would not say when the special envoy would be appointed to replace Clifford Sloan's current post, or who the agency was considering, the spokesperson said they hoped to find someone with "the same energy, determination and leadership that Cliff has brought to the position."

    Sloan's resignation follows the US Department of Defense's Wednesday announcement to release five more Guantanamo detainees for resettlement in Kazakhstan.

    Since November, the United States has released 22 Guantanamo detainees to countries including Afghanistan, Uruguay, Saudi Arabia and Slovakia leaving 127 prisoners left at the detention facility, according to the Pentagon. Some have been staying in prison for years after having been cleared for release.

    Earlier in December several media outlets reported that Sloan was resigning from his post due to frustration within the Department of State and White House over the Pentagon's slow pace at transferring approved Guantanamo prisoners.

    However, both the Department of State as well as Sloan through US media reports, denied that the special envoy's resignation was triggered by frustration with the agency.

    he number of released Guantanamo prisoners reengaging in terrorist or insurgent activities has dropped almost three times since 2009
    © East News / Tech. Sgt. Michael R. Holzworth
    "He [Clifford Sloan] said that he'd give us 12 to 18 months here [as the US Department of State's Special Envoy for Guantanamo closure]; he gave us 18," said Department of State spokesperson Marie Harf during a press briefing earlier in December. "I think there have been some reports out there that are totally inaccurate that he left, was somehow frustrated. I think the opposite is true."

    Leading up to Sloan's departure, President Obama has repeatedly discussed his intention to close Guantanamo Bay detention facility and to transfer the remaining prisoners on the island over the next six months, according to various media outlets.

    In 2009, President Obama signed an executive order to close Guantanamo Bay describing the detention facility as a "sad chapter in American history." However, the closure of the Cuban prison site has yet to take place.


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