19:54 29.02.2016(updated 20:49 29.02.2016) Get short URL
The US plans to hold on to the naval base at Guantanamo Bay despite reports that the Obama administration plans to give it back to Cuba once the detention facility there is closed, US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter said during a press conference on Monday.WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — Last week, the Obama administration laid out a plan detailing how it would close the infamous detention center at Guantanamo Bay that houses suspected terrorists.
"The base is separate from the detention facility," Carter explained when asked whether he could rule out transferring the naval base back to Cuba. "The base is in a strategic location, we've had it for a long time it's important to us. We intend to hold on to it."
Republican Senator and Presidential candidate Marco Rubio sharply criticized the administration, suggesting that Cuba was ripping the American people off and is now demanding the return of the naval base.
Carter admitted that under US law the Obama administration could not relocate detainees from the Guantanamo Bay detention center to the United States, and urged Congress to consider such a proposal to change the law and move detainees to the US mainland.
"There are those in Congress who’ve indicated a willingness to consider such a proposal, which is why we gave it and we hope they do and I hope they consider it favorably because on balance this would be a good thing to not pass on to a future administration," Carter noted.
The majority of detainees at the Guantanamo Bay detention facility were sent there in the aftermath of the US declaration of a global War on Terror. According to a 2015 Senate Intelligence report, terrorist suspects held at Guantanamo Bay were subjected to torture under a Central Intelligence Agency program that reportedly ended in 2006.