Obama tells Congress he plans to remove Cuba from terrorism list
President Obama wishes to remove Cuba from a US list of state supporters of terrorism, clearing the main hurdle to restore political relations and reopening embassies shut for more than half a century.
Cuban President Raul Castro and Obama met at a Western Hemisphere summit in Panama on Saturday for the first meeting of its kind between the US and Cuban leaders in almost 60 years.
“The Cuban government recognizes the unbiased decision made by the president of the United States to eliminate Cuba from a list that it never should have been enclosed on,” Josefina Vidal, the Cuban foreign ministry’s chief of U.S. affairs, stated in a statement.
Congress has 45 days to grant Obama’s decision before it takes effect, but administrators cannot stop it unless both chambers agree a joint resolution, a move that is highly rare.
Many of Obama’s fellow leaders welcomed his decision and some experts said it was long overdue.
Cuba’s removal from the list will ease certain economic sanctions, but the wider US embargo on Cuba will remain in place because only Congress can stop it. Iran, Sudan and Syria remain on the list.
The two countries have proceeded toward an agreement on embassies.
Cuba is now greeting peace talks between the Colombian government and the FARC.