Madam Secretary

Is Guantánamo America’s mess to clean up?

After Clinton’s meeting with Ireland’s foreign minister Tuesday, a reporter with the Irish Times asked the secretary of state what role she expected European countries to play in resettling detainees held at the Guantánamo Bay facility, which the Obama administration plans to close. “It is clear that we will need help because many of the ...

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Protest gainst Guantanamo Bay detention facility, Feb. 14, 2009

After Clinton’s meeting with Ireland’s foreign minister Tuesday, a reporter with the Irish Times asked the secretary of state what role she expected European countries to play in resettling detainees held at the Guantánamo Bay facility, which the Obama administration plans to close.

“It is clear that we will need help because many of the detainees cannot safely, for themselves or others, be sent back to the countries from which they came,” Clinton responded.

On Monday, a group of EU officials traveled to Washington to learn more about Guantánamo detainees that the United States might ask European countries to take in. And just last week, Clinton named U.S. diplomat Daniel Fried as an envoy to help close down Guantánamo, which includes convincing European countries to take in the facility’s detainees.

Some Europeans have said Guantánamo is America’s mess to clean up — why should Europe have to help out? On the other hand, Europeans were the ones demanding so strongly that Guantánamo be shut down.

“Europe needs to step up to the plate,” EU lawmaker Sarah Ludford told Voice of America.

Sounds like Clinton agrees:

We are trying to do the best we can with the problem that we inherited, and that certainly is something that Europe, from one end to the other, called upon us to do. So we would hope to have the cooperation of European governments.

Photo: NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images

Preeti Aroon was copy chief at Foreign Policy from 2009 to 2016 and was an FP assistant editor from 2007 to 2009. Twitter: @pjaroonFP

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