Norway willing to discuss taking prisoners from Guantanamo

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Among all the confidential documents pouring out of WikiLeaks is the account of a meeting Norway’s Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre had with new US Ambassador Barry White in November 2009. White believed he got clear signals from Støre that Norway was ready to discuss taking in prisoners released from the US controversial prison camp at Gauntanamo.

Støre had just written in newspaper Aftenposten that the timing was not right to discuss Guantanamo. According to a document released by WikiLeaks, Støre told both White and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that any such talks should be kept low on the radar, and out of the media.

The Guantanamo operation, which US President Barack Obama had promised to close, remains open. Just last week the US Congress, where Republicans now have a majority, blocked Obama’s closure plans, and the fate of its nearly 200 prisoners remains unclear.

Asked to comment on the WikiLeaks report, Støre told Aftenposten that he now thinks it’s important “to listen to the Americans’ viewpoints.” Asked whether the debate on Guantanomo shouldn’t be conducted openly, Støre said yes, if it’s closure becomes a reality. “But just listening to the Americans, on an issue under development, those conversations can be held with the necessary degree of discretion,” he said.

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