US to Remove Cuba from State Sponsors of Terrorism List

President Barack Obama

U.S. President Barack Obama intends to remove Cuba from the American government’s list of state sponsors of terrorism, news outlets reported Tuesday afternoon.

The news came after a much-anticipated meeting between Obama and Cuban President Raúl Castro during last weekend’s Summit of the Americas meeting in Panama, the first such formal session between leaders of the two countries in more than 50 years.

Cuba has been on the U.S. blacklist of state sponsors of terrorism — a designation shared only by Iran, Sudan, and Syria — for more than 30 years. Obama ordered a review of the nation’s status in December, as he and Castro agreed to move toward normal relations.

As the New York Times explains: “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.”

With this sticking point out of the way, it’s likely that the two countries will “move quickly to formally restore relations and reopen embassies in Havana and Washington,” according to the Washington Post.

First, however, Obama will send his decision to Congress, which has 45 days to consider the new policy. ABC News reports: “Should Congress seek to block the measure, it would need to create a veto-proof law declaring Cuba remains a state sponsor of terrorism. It’s unlikely Congress has votes to complete such a task.”

This article originally appeared on Common Dreams.

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