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Portugal to take 2 Guantanamo detainees

  • Story Highlights
  • Portugal says it weighed up humanitarian factors before making decision
  • Barack Obama announced plans to close Guantanamo early in presidency
  • Military detention center houses about 230 inmates
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(CNN) -- The Portuguese government has agreed to accept two Syrian detainees from the U.S. detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, the Portuguese government said Friday.

The Portuguese government weighed humanitarian factors as well as security issues and the potential for ex-detainees to integrate into Portuguese society in making its decision, according to a statement from the Portuguese Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

U.S. President Barack Obama announced plans early in his presidency to close the U.S. military detention center for terrorism suspects at Guantanamo Bay, which houses about 230 detainees.

The government must determine which of the remaining prisoners will be put on trial, transferred to another country, released or held indefinitely because they are considered a threat to the United States.

Other countries that have agreed to accept detainees from Guantanamo Bay include Chad, Iraq, Ireland and Saudi Arabia. The island of Bermuda has also agreed.

Dan Fried, the U.S. envoy for Guantanamo, traveled to Lisbon, Portugal, in June to negotiate an agreement with the Portuguese government, according to a senior administration official with intimate knowledge of efforts to resettle the detainees.

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