Protesters call for the closing of the Guantanamo Bay detention facility during a protest May 23 near the White House. / Nicholas Kamm, AFP/Getty Images
President Obama still hopes to close the terrorism detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, but time is running out on his second term.
When NPR News asked Obama if he will have to hand off Gitmo to his successor, Obama said: "Not if I can help it."
The president also listed the challenges he faces in trying to close the prison that still has more than 150 detainees. He cited congressional opposition to the idea of U.S. civilian trials for some of these prisoners.
"In some cases, it's hard to return prisoners because the countries where they come from don't want them or can't provide us assurances that they can control them," Obama told NPR in an interview broadcast Thursday.
He added: "It is a hard problem. It's a tough legal problem. It's a tough security problem."
During his foreign policy speech Wednesday at West Point, Obama said he will "continue to push to close Gitmo, because American values and legal traditions do not permit the indefinite detention of people beyond our borders."
In the NPR interview, Obama cited the expense of maintaining the military prison and said that terrorists worldwide use Guantanamo Bay as a rallying cry.
Obama campaigned for the presidency in 2008 pledging to close Gitmo; he has little more than 2½ years to get that done.
Copyright 2015 USATODAY.com
Read the original story: Obama calls Gitmo 'a hard problem'