Yemen could permit the United States to transfer a significant number of Yemeni prisoners currently held at Guantanamo Bay to Saudi Arabia, officials involved in the negotiations told The Wall Street Journal.

Such an agreement would be a boon to President Barack Obama’s plan to close the controversial detention facility, the Journal noted, because nearly 100 of the 240 prisoners held there are Yemeni.

The U.S. has sought to find nations willing to accept the detainees, even while lawmakers in the States largely object to the prospect of prisoners being brought onto U.S. soil.

Releasing Yemenis is a particularly difficult proposition since there are so many of them, some of whom have family ties to al-Qaida members, the Journal said. The U.S. is hesitant to release them back to their home country out of fears the Yemeni government won’t be able to keep tabs on them.

While Yemen has demanded the detainees be released to their homeland, the Journal said indications are that a compromise is possible and one official involved in negotiations said the issue hinges on how many detainees the Saudis will accept.

A spokesman for Yemen’s government in Washington declined to comment on the specifics of the talks.

"Steadfast negotiations between Sana’a and Washington will, hopefully, lead to a positive resolution to this pending issue in the near future," Mohammed Albasha told the Journal. "We’ve had particularly good exchanges with Attorney General Eric Holder."

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