11:22 GMT +326 September 2018
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    A US flag flies in this April 24 2007 file photo at Camp V inside Camp Delta at the US Naval Station in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba

    Tick Tock: Biden 'Hopes and Expects' Gitmo to Close Before Obama Leaves Office

    © AFP 2018 / Files / Paul J. RICHARDS
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    US Vice President Joe Biden has reiterated the desire that the infamous Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba, classified by the UN as a torture center, will be shut down before US President Barack Obama’s successor occupies the Oval Office.

    Biden made a comment at a news conference in Sweden, where he arrived on an official visit on Wednesday.

    "That is my hope and expectation," he said of Gitmo to reporters in Stockholm on Thursday.

    Since his 2009 inauguration, Obama has promised to close the facility, but his attempts to fulfil the pledge have been consistently stymied by a fierce Republican opposition in Congress.

    On Thursday, White House spokesperson Josh Earnest said that the current administration is determined to complete the task before the end of Obama’s term.

    "We're going to do our best to try to get this closed and it's our expectation that that's what we'll do," he stated at a news briefing, adding that a “lot of diplomatic work needs to be done.”

    Currently, some 61 detainees remain in the facility. Of that number, 15 will be transported to the United Arab Emirates, as announced by the Pentagon this month. Another 20 have been approved for transfer, but no country has agreed yet to accept them.

    The Cuban island detention center was established in 2002 for the  interrogation and prosecution of war criminals, under former US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. Since that time the prison has become notorious for detaining people without trial and for the use of torture.

    Related:

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    Guantanamo to Stay Open, Filled With Prisoners When Republicans Win
    Tags:
    prisoners, torture, detention center, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, United States
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