Bulgaria will accept a inmate from the U.S. prison camp at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba after a request from Washington last year to house prisoners, Interior Minister Tsvetan Tsvetanov said on Thursday.
The transfer, due to be approved formally by the government next month, will take effect after Bulgarian security officials visited Guantanamo to pick a prisoner, local media quoted Tsvetranov as saying.
The government's press office confirmed that the cabinet would accept one prisoner.
U.S. President Barack Obama seeks to close the widely criticised jail set up by his predecessor, George W. Bush, to house suspected militants captured abroad.
Obama had promised to close the jail during his first year in office. But that deadline passed this month and 192 detainees remain, with fewer than 50 having left Cuba since Obama took office.
Tsvetanov, who is also deputy prime minister, said the Bulgarian authorities had looked at two particular prisoners, who displayed "model behaviour and professed family values."
"There are no terrorism charges raised against them and they have not taken part in such activities," he said.
The new centre-right government, elected last July, is eager to prove its loyalty to its Western partners and clear the Balkan country's image marred by the previous administration's failure to tame rampant corruption and crime.
About 10 European Union member states have already accepted detainees, including Slovakia which took in three this week. But others have been wary because of security concerns.
ReutersLast Mod: 28 Ocak 2010, 22:15