US President Joe Biden’s aides have launched a formal review of the US military prison at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba, reviving the Obama-era goal of closing the controversial facility with the aim of doing so before he leaves office, the White House said on Friday.

Aides involved in internal discussions are considering an executive action to be signed by Biden in coming weeks or months, two people familiar with the matter told Reuters,

Asked whether Biden would shut the high-security prison located at the Guantanamo Naval Station by the time his presidency ends, White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters: “That certainly is our goal and our intention.”

Reuters reported that such an initiative is unlikely to bring down the curtain anytime soon on the facility, due largely to the steep political and legal obstacles in the way of closing it.

Set up to house foreign suspects following September 11, 2001, attacks on New York and Washington, the prison came to symbolize the excesses of the US “war on terror” because of harsh interrogation methods that critics say amounted to torture.

Former US President Donald Trump kept the prison open during his four years in the White House. Now, 40 prisoners remain, most held for nearly two decades without being charged or tried.

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