United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan has said that 'sooner or later' the US Guantanamo Bay prison will have to be closed.

However, Mr Annan admitted he did not agree with all parts of a new UN report on the camp.

'I think sooner or later there will be a need to close Guantanamo,' Mr Annan told reporters at the UN headquarters.

'It will be up to the (US) government to decide hopefully to do it as soon as possible.'

His comments come after the release of a UN report which says the Guantanamo facility has undermined international law.

Former President and UN Commissioner for Human Rights, Mary Robinson, has said that the US should take the report seriously.
She said Washington should listen if it wanted to win support for its war on terror.

The document charges that the US treatment of detainees violated their rights to physical and mental health and in some cases amounted to torture.

It also said that Washington's justification for holding the inmates was a distortion of international human rights treaties.

About 500 people are imprisoned at Guantanamo Bay; many of them were detained in Afghanistan more than four years ago.

The UN's Special Rapporteur on Torture, Manfred Novak, says the US should give all inmates a proper trial or free them and close down the camp.

The authors of the report also call for the prosecution of US officials who may have been involved in torture.

White House spokesman, Scott McClellan, has denied the charges of abuse and claimed 'al-Qaeda detainees are trained in trying to disseminate false allegations'.

Mr McClellan said media reporting on the issue was a 'rehash of allegations that have been made by lawyers for some of the detainees'.

He also stated that the International Committee of the Red Cross had full access to the prisoners.

Ahead of the report’s publication, the most senior UN human rights official said there was little alternative to closing the detention camp.

Louise Arbor, the UN Commissioner for Human Rights, said some of the inmates there had been held for so long that even a greater involvement from the US judicial system in their cases would not be enough to undo the damage.