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Colombia asked to take in Guantanamo detainees

Colombia's Foreign Minister Maria Angela Holguin in Paramaribo, Surinam, on August 30, 2013
Colombia's Foreign Minister Maria Angela Holguin in Paramaribo, Surinam, on August 30, 2013

Colombia confirmed Thursday that the United States had asked it to take in inmates from the Guantanamo Bay prison for terror suspects.

It did so after news reports in Uruguay said that that country, Brazil and Colombia had been approached by the Americans.

"The government has listened to this request carefully from the United States," said Foreign Minister Maria Angela Holguin.

But Colombia has yet to study the request in detail, she said.

Earlier this week Uruguay said it would take in five detainees from Guantanamo as refugees.

On taking office in 2009, US President Barack Obama pledged to close the military prison at a US naval base in Guantanamo, Cuba, but he has so far failed to do so.

US lawmakers do not want the inmates on American soil and the US government has struggled to find countries to take in detainees, many of whom fear reprisal if they go home to their native countries.

Recently, however, US authorities have stepped up transfers of prisoners deemed no longer a threat, sending them to their homeland or to third countries.

Some 154 inmates remain at the prison, which was erected after the September 11, 2001 attacks to house suspects captured by US forces and spies in anti-terror operations around the world.

Colombia has strong ties with the United States. These were consolidated 15 years ago with the signing of an accord to fight drug trafficking jointly.

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