President Barack Obama remains committed to closing the controversial Guantanamo Bay prison, but may not meet a January 2010 deadline, a top White House aide said on Sunday.
"We believe we are going to substantially meet the deadline," David Axelrod, senior adviser to the president, told NBC.
"We may not hit it on the date, but we will close Guantanamo. And we are making good progress toward doing that."
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Efforts to shutter the sprawling facility, which sits on Cuba's southeastern tip, have been plagued by debate over the fate of its remaining 215 detainees.
The Obama administration took a step toward resolving that quandary on Friday, announcing that five of the most high-profile inmates -- those allegedly involved in the September 11, 2001 attacks -- would be tried in a New York civilian court.
The administration also announced that five others would appear before military tribunals.
"The president believes it is important to get it done and to end this chapter in our history. And we are going to get it done," Axelrod said.
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