It’s getting closer every day—the deadline for Obama to clear out Guantanamo Bay that he promised last January. Now, here is a story that says Georgia is willing to take some prisoners in what they refer to as a “prisoner resettlement” initiative. At least they aren’t referring to the detainees as “refugees” as some previous news accounts have done.
A senior Georgian official tells EurasiaNet that Tbilisi and Washington are discussing the possibility of Georgia accepting suspected terrorists currently being held at the US military prison at Guantanamo Bay on the island of Cuba.
Georgian National Security Council Secretary Eka Tkeshelashvili stated that negotiations about a prisoner transfer are “ongoing.” She would not specify the nature of the talks, or discuss any potential timetable for a transfer.
President Mikheil Saakashvili has made it clear that Georgia is ready to take Guantanamo prisoners. In a television interview with Fox News in late September, Saakashvili said that the country is “absolutely” willing to host Guantanamo detainees. “You know, whatever we can do to help America on its war on terror, we will do,” he said.
The Obama administration faces a January 2010 deadline to close the Guantanamo facility, which still houses over 200 inmates. An estimated 60 detainees have been cleared for release, according to human rights groups.
But finding homes for the prisoners has not been easy. Georgia is one of just a handful of countries that have offered to take Guantanamo prisoners this year, according to the London-based prisoner rights organization Reprieve.
Meanwhile at the White House speculation continues to swirl about the fate of Greg Craig, the White House Counsel who has been responsible for the now screwed-up Gitmo closure plan.