|CUBA TO BE REMOVED FROM U.S. LIST THAT SPONSOR TERRORISM|
Aruba, April 15, 2015 - The White House announced on Tuesday that President Obama intends to remove Cuba from the American government’s list of nations that sponsor terrorism, eliminating a major obstacle to the restoration of diplomatic relations after decades of hostilities.
The decision to remove Cuba from the list is a crucial step in Mr. Obama’s effort to turn the page on a Cold War-era dispute.
It followed a much-anticipated meeting between Mr. Obama and President Raúl Castro of Cuba on the sidelines of the Summit of the Americas meeting in Panama over the weekend, the first such formal session between the leaders of the two countries in more than a half-century.
For more than 30 years, Cuba has been on the State Department’s list of state sponsors of terrorism, a designation shared only by Iran, Sudan and Syria.
Cuba’s place on the list has long snarled its access to financial markets and, more recently, emerged as a sticking point in negotiations to reopen embassies that have officially been closed for five decades.
Mr. Obama ordered a review of Cuba’s status in December, when he and Mr. Castro announced that their two nations had agreed to move toward normal relations.
White House officials said Tuesday that Mr. Obama had approved a recommendation by Secretary of State John Kerry to take Cuba off the terrorism list after what officials called a “rigorous” review of Cuba’s record and assurances from Havana that it would not support terrorism in the future.
Cuba will not come off the list until after a 45-day review period, during which a joint resolution to block its removal could be considered in the House and the Senate.