U.S. suspends transfers of Guantanamo prisoners to Yemen
WASHINGTON, December 6 (RIA Novosti) - The U.S. administration has announced that it would suspend the transfers of detainees from a prison in Guantanamo Bay to Yemen due to the unstable security situation in the Arab country.
"I think that, while we remain committed to closing the facility, the determination has been made that right now any additional transfers to Yemen is not a good idea," White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said at a daily briefing on Tuesday.
At present, about 200 detainees remain at Guantanamo prison, most of them Yemeni.
Concerns over repatriating Yemenis emerged in the wake of a failed attempt to bomb a Detroit-bound flight on Christmas Day.
A Nigerian man, who was accused of trying to bomb the flight, allegedly received training and explosives from an al-Qaeda group based in Yemen.
The United States opened a detention center at the Guantanamo Bay naval base in Cuba in 2002 to keep suspected Al-Qaeda militants and their supporters, who had been captured overseas in the war against terrorism.
Soon after taking office in January 2009, President Barack Obama said the jail would be closed within a year.
Gibbs said on Tuesday that the Guantanamo inmates could be moved to the Thomson Correctional Center, a largely vacant correctional facility in the state of Illinois.
Meanwhile, Yemen has recently sent thousands of soldiers to battle al-Qaeda militants in three of its provinces.
U.S. State Secretary Hillary Clinton reiterated on Monday that the United States would support the Yemeni authorities in their fight against terrorism.
"The instability in Yemen is a threat to regional stability and even global stability, and we're working with Qatar and others to think of the best way forward to try to deal with the security concerns," Clinton said.
Washington has previously given the Yemeni government $70 million for counterterrorism.
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