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REFILE-Obama says Guantanamo prison to close "next year"

(Refiles to fix typo in name Bret in 3rd graph)

WASHINGTON, Nov 18 (Reuters) - President Barack Obama said on Wednesday he believes the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, can be closed next year, but he acknowledged that he will not meet his original January deadline.

Obama said he was not disappointed that he would not meet the one-year deadline he set upon taking office last January because, he said, "I knew this was going to be hard."

He made the comment in Beijing in an interview to be aired on Fox News Channel's "Special Report with Bret Baier" later on Wednesday.

"We are on a path and a process where I would anticipate that Guantanamo will be closed next year," Obama said, declining to name a specific date for when the prison will be closed.

The Obama administration has had difficulty in closing the prison because many U.S. lawmakers are deeply reluctant to transferring the prisoners there to the United States.

"It's hard not only because of the politics. People I think understandably are fearful after a lot of years where they were told that Guantanamo was critical to keeping terrorists out. So, I understood that that had to be processed, but it's also just technically hard -- I just think as usual in Washington things move slower than I anticipated," Obama said.

Edited by Philip Barbara

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