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Canada rejects American request to accept some Guantanamo detainees

OTTAWA - The Canadian government says it has no intention of accepting some of the prisoners being held at Guantanamo Bay.

OTTAWA - The Canadian government says it has no intention of accepting some of the prisoners being held at Guantanamo Bay.

"Prisoners that have absolutely no connection to Canada will not be brought to Canada," Dmitri Soudas, a spokesman for the Prime Minister's Office, said Thursday.

A Canadian media source reported Thursday the Obama administration sent an envoy to Canada to ask the federal government to accept a number of Guantanamo detainees, but was turned down.

President Barack Obama has promised to close Guantanamo by early 2010, but some American lawmakers are opposed to allowing any of the detainees to be held on U.S. soil.

The Conservative government's rejection of the request comes as no surprise given Prime Minister Stephen Harper's steadfast refusal to repatriate the lone Westerner detained at Guantanamo, Canada's Omar Khadr.

A Canadian court ordered the federal government to press for Khadr's return to Canada, but Ottawa is appealing that ruling.

Canada's refusal to take detainees from other countries should not cause any ripple in Canada-U.S. relations, Soudas said.

"Often we agree to agree, but we also sometimes agree to disagree. But there's little that could make the relationship between Canada and the U.S. change."

The U.S. is particularly anxious to find a place to send 17 Muslims from western China that the U.S. courts have ruled are being detained illegally.

The U.S. has also asked Australia to take some of the detainees.

 
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