Envoy Tasked With Shutting Down Gitmo

Mar 12, 2009 2:53pm

ABC News’ Kirit Radia reports: It’s been said that the challenge of closing down the Guantanamo Bay detention facility would be a full time job. Well, now it is. Ambassador Daniel Fried, a veteran diplomat, has been given the difficult task of finding other countries to take in the remaining detainees at Guantanamo so that the facility can be shut down in accordance with President Obama’s directions given shortly after taking office in January. "In order to carry out President Obama’s commitment to close the detention facility at Guantanamo within one year, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton has determined we need to intensify our efforts to facilitate the transfer of detainees," State Department acting spokesman Robert Wood said. "Ambassador Fried’s extensive experience will be an invaluable asset as we seek the assistance of foreign governments in moving toward closure of the detention facility," he added. Under the Bush administration, Fried was Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs, an experience that will come in handy in his new position as European countries have begun to, reluctantly, express interest in taking in some Guantanamo detainees. Last week during a trip to Brussels, Secretary Clinton said she was encouraged by the new European willingness to absorb some of the Guantanamo inmates. Today, Wood had little to add, saying only that the U.S. continues to have discussions with European and other countries on the matter. In the past this task has been handled by the office of the Ambassador at Large for War Crimes issues, but Wood said this shift will allow them to "devote their full attention to war crime matters."

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