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Middle East

Sanaa aims to organise Yemeni returns from Guantanamo

In this Jan. 14, 2011, file photo human rights activists, hooded and wearing orange prison garb to represent prisoners at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, demonstrate in front of the White House in Washington because the prison has not been closed down by President Obama. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

SANAA: Foreign Minister Abu Bakr al-Kurbi said Sunday that Yemen is to coordinate with the United States to organise the return of Yemeni detainees from Guantanamo Bay.

"We are going to make contact with US authorities to prepare the repatriation of the Yemenis held at Guantanamo," Kurbi said on the defence ministry's website, 26sep.net.

He said the Americans were expected to organise the transfer in groups.

In a move welcomed by Sanaa, US President Barack Obama pledged on Thursday to end a moratorium on sending Yemeni prisoners held at the US military base in Cuba to the Arabian peninsula.

Of the 86 inmates cleared for release, most -- 56 -- are from Yemen, where Al-Qaeda has established a foothold. Overall, a total of 84 Yemenis are currently held at the jail, making them the largest group by nationality.

Most were seized more than a decade ago.

Repatriations to Yemen were halted after a Nigerian man trained in Yemen tried to detonate explosives in his underwear on a flight to Detroit in the United States on Christmas Day 2009.

The incident triggered fears returned detainees could join radical movements, as was the case with a number of Yemeni detainees allowed to return home before 2009.

Kurbi said his country has already prepared a programme to reintegrate the detainees into Yemeni society.

 

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