Reinfeldt: ‘US responsible for Guantanamo inmates’

Sweden's Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt reiterated Friday his government's reluctance to accept former Guantanamo Bay detainees after US President Barack Obama pledged to close the prison.

“The Americans have the responsibility to close Guantanamo and to ensure that the majority (of prisoners) can stay in the US,” Swedish TT news agency quoted him as saying.

Reinfeldt praised Obama’s decision to close the “war on terror” detention centre, but said Sweden is not willing to welcome inmates because it had already taken in more Iraqi refugees than any other Western country.

EU foreign ministers, at a meeting in Brussels on Monday, are to debate the extent to which the European Union should coordinate a response to any demand from the United States to accept some of the 245 prisoners.

Many of the 27 EU nations have called for the jail to be shut down, but each of them has their own legal systems and proceedings, so no over-arching EU line can be taken and imposed on all.

While Portugal, backed by France, has been leading the drive to help close down the prison — a blight on America’s moral standing in the world over the last seven years — Austria ruled out Friday taking any prisoners in.

Many others have yet to take a firm position.

Obama ordered Thursday the closure of Guantanamo Bay within a year and banned torture in a dramatic repudiation of his predecessor George W. Bush’s anti-terror policies.

He also ordered the shutting down of all CIA secret prisons abroad and commissioned a task force to work out what to do with more than 240 prisoners still in the camp.