Rice talks Guantanamo captives in Algeria

Rice talks Guantanamo captives in Algeria

UPI, Sept. 6, 2008 at 6:55 PM

ALGIERS, Algeria, Sept. 6 (UPI) — U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Saturday Washington would return Guantanamo detainees to their home countries when safety measures were met.

« We would like to move as much of the population of Guantanamo out as soon as we possibly can, » Rice said while speaking with reporters in Algiers after meeting with Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika. « We would like to, but we also have to remember that we have an obligation not to have dangerous people on the streets. »

She said transfers to home countries would be « rigorous » to get « the protections that we need and that the detainees need. »

Dozens of suspected Islamist extremists from Algeria and other North African countries are believed held at the U.S. Guantanamo Bay Naval Base in Cuba as « unlawful combatants. » The status of dozens of others returned to their native countries is unclear, with some believed jailed indefinitely.

Rice visited Algeria and neighboring Tunisia a day after holding a historic meeting with Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi in Tripoli.

In Tunis, Rice discussed the fight against terrorism and U.S.-Tunisian relations with President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, the Tunisian News Agency reported.

Rice said the talks were effective and enhanced longstanding good relations between Tunis and Washington.