President Barack Obama vowed Tuesday to make a renewed attempt to close the US military prison in Guantanamo Bay, amid a hunger strike by suspected terrorist detainees.
Obama told a White House news conference he did not want any prisoners to die and called on Congress to help him find a long-term legal solution to the problem of prosecuting terror suspects.
"I continue to believe we have to close Guantanamo. I think it is critical for us to understand that Guantanamo is not necessary to keep America safe.
"It is expensive. It is inefficient. It hurts us in terms of our international standing. It lessens cooperation with our allies on counterterrorism efforts. It is a recruiting tool for extremists.
"It needs to be closed," he said.
Obama favors prosecuting enemy combatants in civilian courts and transfering those cleared of wrongdoing to their home countries.
His tough words were the most extensive the president has delivered on Guantanamo for months and reflected his frustration with Congress which he blamed for blocking his efforts to shut the jail at a US naval base in southeastern Cuba.