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Page last updated at 11:07 GMT, Sunday, 27 September 2009 12:07 UK

Guantanamo pair arrive in Ireland

detainee at Guantanamo Bay
Guantanamo Bay detention centre is to close in 2010

Two detainees who were being held at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba, have been sent to Ireland to be resettled.

The men have not been identified, but are understood to be citizens of Uzbekistan.

They landed in Dublin on Saturday evening and will enter a resettlement programme.

The Irish government announced in July that it would accept the two men after Justice Minister Dermot Ahern met with US Ambassador Dan Rooney.

President Barack Obama plans to shut the camp by January. A third detainee was transferred to Yemen.

Mr Ahern said the two detainees should be given time and space to rebuild their lives.

"The resettlement of two detainees from Guantanamo Bay underscores Ireland's commitment, acting in common with our EU partners, to assist in bringing about the closure of the Guantanamo Bay detention centre," he said.

"Ireland was one of the first countries in Europe to call for the closure of the detention centre.

"The resettlement of the two individuals is a humanitarian gesture."

In a statement on Saturday, the US Justice Department said: "The United States has coordinated with the governments of each of these nations to ensure the transfers take place under appropriate security measures and will continue to consult with these governments regarding these detainees."

It did not say when the men were flown out.

Since 2002, more than 550 detainees have been transferred out of Guantanamo, according to the US Defense Department.

However some 200, many of them from Yemen, remain at the camp.

Is is thought a key to closing Guantanamo will be reaching a deal with Yemen that provides Washington with assurances that the men being returned will not engage in terrorism.



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