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The State Department envoy responsible for dealing with the transfer of detainees out of Guantanamo Bay said late Monday he will be stepping down from his role. Clifford Sloan's departure, which takes effect at the end of the year, could be seen as a setback for the Obama administration in its efforts to close the controversial prison camps.
In his 18 months on the job, Sloan ended a logjam by helping negotiate the transfer of 34 detainees. Several high-profile transfers to Uruguay and Afghanistan took place in recent weeks, and more that were engineered by Sloan are expected to transpire soon. In an interview in the New York Times, Sloan insisted he had not quit because of foot-dragging by the Pentagon over the transfers, saying he had always intended to serve 18 months.
“I'd like to have about a hundred Cliff Sloans,” Secretary of State John Kerry said in a statement praising the envoy for accepting a “tough portfolio” with little appeal. “He's the real deal. I just can't say enough good things about him. I'm convinced that there's a finish line in sight now because of the strides we made in 2014 especially, and Cliff's a big part of that progress.”
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