US removes Cuba from list of terrorism sponsors

US removes Cuba from list of terrorism sponsors

HomeUSForeign Policy Fri May 29, 2015 4:33PM

The United States has formally removed Cuba from the list of its state sponsors of terrorism.

“The rescission of Cuba’s designation as a State Sponsor of Terrorism reflects our assessment that Cuba meets the statutory criteria for rescission,” State Department spokesman Jeff Rathke said in a statement on Friday.

“While the United States has significant concerns and disagreements with a wide range of Cuba’s policies and actions, these fall outside the criteria relevant to the rescission of a State Sponsor of Terrorism designation.”

The move eliminates a major obstacle toward restoring diplomatic relations between the two countries.

Cubans saw their nation’s designation on the list, in effect since 1982, as a practical hindrance to conducting banking in the United States.

In a major policy reversal in December, US President Barack Obama announced that he would work toward normalizing relations with Cuba.

The State Department said Obama notified Congress of his intent to remove Cuba from the list on April 14.

However, the US trade embargo against Cuba still remains in place.

The United States broke off diplomatic relations with Cuba in 1961 and placed an official embargo against the country in 1962.

Congress has so far refused Obama’s request to lift the longstanding embargo.

Last week, American and Cuban diplomats met in Washington for a fourth round of talks, but discussions ended without an announcement on opening embassies in both countries’ capitals.

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