Press Statement
Robert Wood
Acting Department Spokesman, Bureau of Public Affairs, Office of the Spokesman
Washington, DC
March 12, 2009

In order to carry out President Obama’s commitment to close the detention facility at Guantanamo within one year, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton has determined we need to intensify our efforts to facilitate the transfer of detainees. Secretary Clinton therefore has asked Ambassador Daniel Fried, a seasoned diplomat with a strong record of accomplishment, to lead a dedicated team to address this issue full-time. Ambassador Fried’s extensive experience will be an invaluable asset as we seek the assistance of foreign governments in moving toward closure of the detention facility.

Over the last several years, the task of negotiating transfers of detainees from Guantanamo has fallen to the Ambassador at Large for War Crimes Issues and his staff, whose primary function historically has been war crimes matters – a full-time job. This shift provides the benefit of also ensuring that the Ambassador at Large and his team can devote their full attention to war crime matters, which are of critical importance to this Administration.

PRN: 209