The transfer of six men held at the Guantánamo Bay prison to Uruguay may not be imminent after all.
The plan is still being negotiated and is unlikely to occur before upcoming elections in the South American country, presidential spokesman Diego Canepa said Monday.
The Pentagon had given the U.S. Congress a legally required 30-day notice in July that it intended to transfer the six long-held men for resettlement, suggesting it may have been imminent after months of delay. But Canepa said undisclosed issues had yet to be resolved.
“I don’t think they will be resolved within the next two to three months,” Canepa said.
As of Tuesday, the Pentagon held 149 foreign captives at the U.S. Navy base in southeast Cuba, among them six of them awaiting death-penalty trials and 79 approved for release or transfer to resettlement situations.
An undisclosed number were on a long-running hunger strike.
Presidential and legislative elections are scheduled for Oct. 26 with a possible presidential runoff on Nov. 30. Mujica, who is not running for re-election, has said he decided to offer to resettle the six prisoners as a humanitarian gesture but polls suggest a majority of people in Uruguay, a country with relatively few Muslims, do not support the transfer.
Canepa denied a report in The New York Times that Mujica had asked the U.S. to postpone the transfer because it would be risky before the election. The spokesman told reporters that there was never a fixed date to postpone in the first place.
“There isn’t a date that could be extended or changed,” he said.
The spokesman also denied that the U.S. has pressured Uruguay to accept the men.
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