Sarkozy Says France Will Accept Guantanamo Detainee

(AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

French President Nicolas Sarkozy said his country is willing to accept a Guantanamo Bay detainee after the facility is closed, at a press conference this morning with President Obama in Strasbourg, France.

"We can't condemn the United States because they have that camp and then wash our hands of it once they close it. That's not what being allies is about," Sarkozy said according to a Reuters translation.

"Yes, we talked about it, and yes, we reached an agreement," the French president confirmed.

Mr. Obama said he ordered Guantanamo Bay prison camp to shut its doors because it was not adding to the security of America.

"I have been very clear that we are going to do it carefully, we are going to do it thoughtfully and in order to do it carefully and thoughtfully we are going to consult with our allies and in certain cases we are going to need help with detainees," Mr. Obama said.

"We have had this discussion," Mr. Obama explained, saying there are not yet detailed announcements.

"I just want express my appreciation to President Sarkozy to being good to his word, as he always is," Mr. Obama said.



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The U.S. president called France America's "first ally" and the two leaders also seemed in sync on their reaction to the threat of a North Korean missile launch.

"We have made very clear to the North Koreans that their missile launch is provocative. It puts enormous strain on the six party talks and that they should stop the launch," Mr. Obama said.

"The response so far from the North Koreans," Mr. Obama said before a long pause, "has been not just unhelpful but has resorted to the sort of language that has led to North Korea's isolation in the international community for a long time... Should North Korea decide to take this action, we will work with all interested parties in the international community to take appropriate steps to let North Korea know that it can't threaten the safety and security of other countries with impunity."

You can read more from the press conference here.

Update 10:45 a.m. ET: The Associated Press is reporting that Stephen Oleskey, an attorney for two Algerian prisoners at Guantanmo Bay (Lakhdar Boumediene and Sabir Mahfouz Lahmar), says one of them may be moved to France.

"The discussions being reported this morning concern an Algerian detained in Guantanamo who would be welcomed to settle in France," he told the AP.
  • Michelle Levi

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