Obama to Take Cuba off US Terror List

Obama to Take Cuba off US Terror ListObama to Take Cuba off US Terror List

President Barack Obama will remove Cuba from the US list of state sponsors of terrorism, the White House says.

The move comes amid a normalization of relations between the US and Cuba, BBC reported.

The Caribbean country’s presence on the list alongside Syria, Iran and Sudan was a sticking point for Cuba during talks to reopen embassies.

Republican Senator Marco Rubio condemned the White House decision, saying Cuba remained a state sponsor of terrorism. “They harbor fugitives of American justice, including someone who killed a police officer in New Jersey over 30 years ago,” said Mr. Rubio, a Cuban American who launched his 2016 presidential campaign on Monday.

“It’s also the country that’s helping North Korea evade weapons sanctions by the United Nations.”

Mr. Obama announced the historic US thaw with Cuba in December but the US trade embargo against the country remains, and may only be ended by Congress.

Mr. Obama said the government of Cuba “has not provided any support for international terrorism” over the last six months and had “provided assurances that it will not support acts of international terrorism in the future”.

White House press secretary Josh Earnest said the US still had differences with Cuban policies and actions, but they were not “relevant” to the terror list.

  Obama Decision  Welcomed

Cubans are welcoming President Obama’s decision to remove the country from the list of state sponsors of terrorism, Euronews reported.

The move was widely predicted after Obama’s historic meeting with Cuban President Raul Castro at the Summit of the Americas in Panama at the weekend.

The proposal still has to pass through congress but it is unlikely lawmakers will block the move.

Cuba’s removal from the list will pave the way for the restoration of normal diplomatic relations and the reopening of embassies after more than half a century of mistrust and isolation.