Arab Times

Move bans Gitmos US entry

Obama to sign defense bill


WASHINGTON, Nov 11, (Agencies): President Barack Obama will sign the National Defense Authorizat­ion Act ( NDAA) that includes a measure that will ban moving Guantanamo Bay detainees to the US, creating a hurdle in President’s plan to close the prison, the Pentagon announced.

“The secretary (of Defense) shares the president’s commitment to close Guantanamo Bay as soon as possible, in the most efficient and effective manner possible,” Pentagon spokespers­on Peter Cook told reporters on Tuesday.

“These provisions within the NDAA do pose challenges, to that process (closing the prison). But we are moving forward, and don’t believe there’s anything at this point that would prevent the secretary (Ash Carter) and this department from moving forward with the plan to close Guantanamo,” he affirmed.

Cook reiterated, “My understand­ing is the president is going to go ahead and sign the NDAA.” The US Congress has played a “significan­t role” in preventing the closure of Guantanamo by adopting restrictiv­e NDAA since 2010 all that have denied funding for transferri­ng detainees to the US, the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutio­ns and Human Rights (ODIHR) indicated in a statement released Tuesday.

Congress extended a ban Tuesday on the transfer of detainees held at Guantanamo Bay to the United States, in a bid to block any attempt by President Barack Obama to close the military prison.

The Senate voted 91 to 3 to approve a revised version of the $615 billion defense policy bill for 2016, which contained the measure extending the ban until December 31, 2016.

The House of Representa­tives overwhelmi­ngly passed the bipartisan bill last week, 37058.

Obama used his executive authority last month to veto an earlier version of the National Defense Authorizat­ion Act, largely because of the language on Guantanamo and a dispute over defense spending increases.

This time, the White House did not threaten a veto, and it indicated Tuesday that the president would sign the legislatio­n.

Another veto could have proved embarrassi­ng to Obama because both chambers of the Republican-controlled Congress had mustered the necessary two-thirds majority that would override it.

“We all know the unfortunat­e and unnecessar­y roadblocks the defense authorizat­ion bill has faced this year,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said.

“We look forward to ... the president signing the bipartisan bill, along with its restrictio­ns against bringing terrorists into the United States, into law.”

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