Vatican helps find humanitarian solution to Guantanamo

The Vatican is ready to help the US as it looks to close Guantanamo Bay prison.

The offer came during a meeting on Tuesday, between Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, and US Secretary of State, John Kerry, held at the Vatican.

The Vatican stood ready to “help find adequate humanitarian solutions through our international contacts”, Spokesman Fr Federico Lombardi SJ confirmed, at a press conference following the meeting.

“There’s a desire by the Vatican to follow the situation closely, even if [the precise solution] is obviously not among the Vatican’s competences, but the Holy See favours adequate humanitarian solutions that lead to the closing the Guantanamo prison,” said the spokesman.

Lombardi confirmed other topics discussed included in the discussions were the situation in the Middle East, talks between Israel and Palestine officials, the crisis in Ukraine and the Ebola epidemic.

The Vatican spokesman did not expand further on the contents of any of the discussions, but acknowledged there was a problem of where the current detainees can go and where they will be made welcome.

In October, the Pope railed against “penal populism” that led countries to facilitate torture, using the death penalty and imprisoning people without trial.

The US bishops have repeatedly called for Guantanamo’s closure, saying that such torture violates Church teaching.

However former Vice-President Dick Cheney gave an unflinching defence of the CIA’s torture programme.

Speaking on US television’s, “Meet the Press” on Sunday, Cheney dismissed criticisms of the program’s forced rectal feedings, waterboarding and death.

“It worked. It absolutely did work.

“I’d do it again in a minute,” said Cheney.

Cheney said he was more disturbed by the detainees released from Guantanamo and prisons in Iraq – many under his own administration – who have returned to the battlefield.

President Barack Obama has launched a new push to close Guantanamo, and recently a dozen prisoners transferred out, leaving about 130 from a high of 700 on the U.S. base in Cuba.


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