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Office to close Gitmo quietly shuttered

AFP-JIJI

The U.S. State Department has shut down the office of its special envoy for the closure of Guantanamo Bay, a U.S. official said Monday, in a sign of the fading hopes of shuttering the prison.

Daniel Fried, the special envoy in charge of the dossier, will now move to coordinate the State Department’s sanctions policy, including for Iran and Syria, and his former responsibilities will be assumed by the office of the department’s legal adviser, The New York Times reported, citing an internal personnel memo.

A U.S. official, who asked not to be named, said the story, which specified that Fried would not be replaced, was “accurate.”

Fried, a veteran diplomat and former ambassador to Poland, was appointed special envoy in May 2009, only months after President Barack Obama ordered the closure of the notorious prison at the U.S. naval base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

On his first day in office in January 2009, Obama signed an executive order that the prison camp should close, in a bid to fulfill one of his campaign promises.

But his plan was thwarted when some countries were reluctant to accept the return of their nationals and when U.S. lawmakers banned the military from transferring prisoners to the United States for trial or sending them abroad.