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The White House has presented to Congress a plan to close the Guantanamo Bay detention facility, one of the president’s long-standing goals.
It wants to transfer the remaining 91 detainees to their home countries or to US military or civilian prisons.
But Congress is deeply opposed to terror suspects being held on US soil and is expected to block the move.
The prison costs $445m (£316m) to run annually and closing it was a 2009 promise from President Barack Obama.
He told reporters on Tuesday the prison undermined national security.
“This is about closing a chapter in our history,” said Mr Obama. “It reflects the lessons we’ve learned since 9/11 – lessons that must guide our nation going forward.”