President Obama's spokesman on Friday wouldn't confirm whether the U.S. pays third-party countries to take detainees released from the military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Experts have speculated that Washington has to pay handsomely to convince other nations to accept and detain the prisoners.

Josh Earnest, Obama's press secretary, sidestepped the question, which has been asked more frequently as Obama looks to unload as many cleared terrorist suspects as he can to get closer to his goal of closing the facility.

Earnest would only concede that there are "extensive diplomatic discussions" ahead of transfers such as the one earlier this month that saw the United Arab Emirates accept 15 former Guantanamo Bay inmates. But he wouldn't answer questions about whether the government is paying these countries as part of the deal.