World affairs correspondent for the BBC News website, Paul Reynolds writes:
The request by the British government for the release of five UK residents from Guantanamo Bay is a switch in policy and another sign that the new government of Gordon Brown is quietly distancing itself from that of Tony Blair.
It perhaps signals a greater readiness to be more flexible in the conduct of what President Bush called the "war on terror" after the attacks of 9/11.
And the United States itself seems keen to resolve as many cases at Guantanamo as it can.
The Blair government did call for the closure of Guantanamo Bay and acted on behalf of British citizens held in the camp, and they have been freed, but it always rejected demands that it support these five.
The government argued right up to the Appeal Court that it was under no obligation to do so because they were not UK nationals and that anyway its efforts would be "futile", as the Americans would not negotiate with third-country governments.
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