Bush: Guantanamo vital to terror fight


Published: Saturday, January 14, 2006 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, January 13, 2006 at 10:56 p.m.
WASHINGTON - President Bush rejected on Friday a suggestion by Germany's new chancellor that the U.S. prison camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, be shut down.
The camp on the U.S. Navy base there is "a necessary part of protecting the American people," Bush said after meeting with Chancellor Angela Merkel at the White House.
In a joint news conference, Merkel said she raised the issue with Bush, and she described it as one of the differences between the United States and Germany.
"There sometimes have been differences of opinion, I mentioned Guantanamo in this respect," Merkel said.
On another issue, both leaders called on Iran to back away from the current standoff over its nuclear program.
The United States, Germany and other nations need to "send a common message to the Iranians . . . to not have a nuclear weapon to blackmail or threaten the world," Bush said.
He said it was "logical that a country which has rejected diplomatic entreaties be sent to the United Nations Security Council."
Iran threatened earlier Friday to block inspections of its nuclear sites if confronted by the Security Council over its atomic activities. The Iranian president reaffirmed his country's intention to produce nuclear energy.
France, Britain and Germany quickly responded that they were not demanding sanctions against Tehran just yet.
On Thursday, those three nations, backed by the United States, said that talks with Iran had reached a dead end and urged that the issue be referred to the Security Council
Both Bush and Merkel said they discussed the Iranian nuclear crisis and strategy for dealing with it at length.
Also referring to recent comments by Iran's leader challenging Israel's right to exist, Merkel said: "We will not be intimidated by a country such as Iran."
In two years of difficult negotiations between European nations and Iran "Iran refused every offer we made," she said.

Reader comments posted to this article may be published in our print edition. All rights reserved. This copyrighted material may not be re-published without permission. Links are encouraged.

Comments are currently unavailable on this article

▲ Return to Top