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German Chancellor Criticizes U.S.'s Guantanamo Facility

German Chancellor Angela Merkel (file photo) (AFP) 7 January 2006 -- German Chancellor Angela Merkel has criticized the U.S. detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, saying such an institution cannot be allowed to exist in the long term.

Merkel made the comment to the magazine "Der Spiegel" ahead of her first visit to the United States since taking office in November.

Correspondents say Merkel is hoping to repair German-U.S. ties strained over the Iraq war, but they add that she is unlikely to shy away from speaking out where disagreement exists.

The Guantanamo facility -- used to hold terrorist suspects -- has been criticized by governments and human rights groups around the world.

Merkel also commented on Germany's relations with Russia, saying the two countries have a "strategic partnership" rather than a "friendship."