[JURIST] A Spanish foreign ministry official confirmed Monday that Spain will be accepting two detainees currently being held at Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive]. One of the detainees is said to be [AP report] of Yemeni origin, while the nationality of the other was not released. Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos [official profile] said [AP report] last week that an agreement between Spain and the US was close to completion in anticipation of the transfer. The detainees are expected to be transferred to Spain over the next few weeks. Spain is the most recent in a string of countries worldwide that have agreed to take in detainees from Guantanamo Bay, as the US administration attempts to empty the facility. Last month, Switzerland agreed [JURIST report] to take one Uzbek detainee, and has expressed willingness [JURIST report] to take two more. Also last month, 12 more detainees were transferred to their home governments, and detainees were transferred to Palau, Kuwait, and several European countries [JURIST reports].
The transfer to Spain comes at the request of the Obama administration, which initially requested [France 24 report] that Spain take as many as four detainees last June as part of the administration's plan to close the facility. Closure was initially due by January 22, 2010, but President Obama recently confirmed [NYT report] that this deadline would not be met. The administration has run into several hurdles in closing the prison, including opposition from members of Congress and the suspension of detainee transfers to Yemen [JURIST report]. In November, the Center for American Progress [advocacy website] issued a report [JURIST report] blaming missteps by the Obama administration for the delay.