Barack Obama `not ready to concede` Gitmo will stay open

With months left in office, US President Barack Obama said on Thursday he was not ready to give up on an eight-year-old promise to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay.

AFP| Updated: Sep 08, 2016, 15:57 PM IST

Vientiane: With months left in office, US President Barack Obama said on Thursday he was not ready to give up on an eight-year-old promise to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay.

"I am not ready to concede that it may still remain open because we`re still working diligently to continue to shrink the population," Obama said at a press conference in Laos.

Obama urgently wants to close the facility before he leaves office at the start of next year but has been continually thwarted by Republican lawmakers.

Still, the United States has in recent months accelerated the rate at which detainees who have been approved for transfer are released from the facility.

Speaking in Vientiane, Obama said the controversial prison served as a "recruitment tool" for terrorist organisations and was a waste of money.

"As we continue to shrink the population to the point where we`re looking at 40 or 50 people and are maintaining a multimillion dollar operation to house these people, the American people are asking why should we spend this money on this when it could be spent on other things," he told reporters.