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    US President Barack Obama speaks during a press conference in the briefing room of the White House in Washington, DC (File)

    Obama Trying to Work With Congress to Lift Ban on Gitmo Transfers to US

    © AFP 2019 / Andrew Caballero-Reynolds
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    The Obama administration is looking to work with Congress to modify the law that prohibits transferring detainees held at Guantanamo Bay, US Department of State Special Envoy for Guantanamo Closure Lee Wolosky said Wednesday.

    WASHINGTON, March 23 (Sputnik) — The president will work with Congress to modify the law that prohibits transferring detainees held at Guantanamo Bay to the United States, US Department of State Special Envoy for Guantanamo Closure Lee Wolosky said in congressional testimony on Wednesday.

    On Monday, US Senator Mark Kirk called for keeping the law in place so that President Barack Obama could not close the detention center at Guantanamo Bay before he leaves office in November.

    "The statue in its current form prohibits transfers to the United States, which is why we are working at this time, or seeking to work, with Congress to modify the law in order to be able to bring into the United States a small, irreducible number of detainees," Wolosky stated.

    The Obama administration, Wolosky noted, has implemented rigorous interagency review process before detainees are approved for transfer and the Department of State begins negotiating with foreign countries to relocate cleared detainees.

    Thirty-six of the 91 detainees remaining at Guantanamo Bay, Wolosky added, have been approved for transfer, while roughly 40 have neither been approved nor are facing charges.

    The United States has been unable to transfer 29 of the approved detainees from Guantanamo bay to Yemen, their country of origin.

    On Tuesday, Department of Defense Envoy for Guantanamo Closure Paul Lewis told Congress that the Pentagon has the ability to transfer detainees safely and securely to the US mainland.

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