Biden says he expects Guantanamo to be shuttered by January

US Vice President Joe Biden said Thursday that he expects the Guantanamo Bay military prison to be closed by the time President Barack Obama leaves office in January.

When asked by a reporter whether the administration would achieve its goal of closing the notorious US detention camp in Cuba, the vice president replied: "That is my hope and expectation."

During his first presidential campaign, Obama promised to shut down the prison within his first year of office, but his efforts have been stonewalled by the Republican-led Congress.

He made another push in February, in which he outlined a new plan to shutter the camp. The White House has repeatedly said that it still believes the goal is achievable.

Of the nearly 800 people who have been held at the facility, 61 remain.

Most of the detainees were rounded up when the US became involved in wars in Afghanistan and Iraq after the September 11, 2001, attacks.

Under the administration of George W Bush, inmates were shackled in harsh positions, doused in cold water, stripped naked, and were subjected to other forms of humiliation.

Obama banned the practices, describing harsh interrogation techniques such as waterboarding a "mistake" and "torture."

The population at the camp has gradually decreased as the White House releases prisoners to other countries. Earlier this month, another 15 inmates were transferred to the United Arab Emirates.

Guantanamo Bay is the US Navy's oldest overseas base, occupied since the Spanish-American War in 1898 and leased under treaty since 1903 for use as a fuelling station.

Biden made the remark at a press conference during a one-day visit to the Swedish capital Stockholm.

Last update: Thu, 25/08/2016 - 17:27
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