Barack Obama presents plan to close Guantanamo Bay

The closing of the prison has been a major issue for the outgoing president

Barack Obama presents plan to close Guantanamo Bay

Guantanamo Bay. Image: Kathleen T. Rhem

The US president has put forward his plan to close Guantanamo Bay.

It would mean transferring the remaining detainees from the detention centre in Cuba to the United States - or back to their home countries.

Barack Obama now needs to get other politicians to back the plan in Congress.

He says closing the prison is the right decision: "Keeping this facility open is contrary to our values. It undermines our standing in the world. It is viewed as a stain on our broader record of upholding the highest standards of rule of law."

Back in July 2015, Obama had presented his final plans for the closing of the facility, stating that spending more than $100m per year on the prison was a waste of money.

US diplomatic envoys have been left asking countries and territories as far-flung as Uruguay, Bermuda and Palau to accept detainees.

It was reported as early as 2014 that President Obama was considering whether to use his executive powers to override the Congressional ban on bringing detainees to the US.

The President's opponents have said closing the facility now would be ill-timed, given the threat posed by the Islamic State extremist group.