Washington: The United States has said that it was committed to transfer detainees from the Guantanamo Bay, as the Pentagon announced a special envoy for the closer of the infamous detention center and started reviewing cases of those being held without any charges.
"The (Obama) Administration is committed to transferring as many detainees as possible, and the President continues to call on Congress to lift restrictions on detainee transfers, which have significantly limited our ability to responsibly reduce the detainee population and ultimately close the detention facility," National Security Council spokesperson Caitlin Hayden said.
A day earlier, the Pentagon had named Paul M Lewis the new Special Envoy for Guantanamo Closure.
"Lewis will work closely with Special Envoy Cliff Sloan at the State Department to facilitate the transfer of Guantanamo detainees. He also will oversee efforts to transfer third country nationals currently held by the United States in Afghanistan," Hayden said.
The Pentagon yesterday released additional information about the Periodic Review Board (PRB) process which will review whether continued detention of certain detainees held at Guantanamo Bay remains necessary to protect against a continuing significant threat to US national security.
"The PRB process makes an important contribution toward the President`s goal of closing Guantanamo Bay by ensuring that the government has a principled and sustainable process for determining whether continued detention is warranted for certain detainees in light of the current circumstances and intelligence, and identifying whether additional detainees may be designated for transfer," she said.
The PRB began notifying those detainees eligible for review in July 2013 and will continue to do so on a rolling basis, she added.
In a separate statement, the Pentagon said that reviews will involve considering highly classified intelligence in addition to information that can be made public.
The Pentagon has not said how many of the 164 prisoners now at Guantanamo will be reviewed under this process. More than 80 of these have already been cleared for release or transfer.
However, they have been still held either because of restrictions on releases imposed by the Congress or they are from Yemen, which the US believes is too unstable to accept them.