Washington, Apr 14: US President Barack Obama has decided to remove Cuba from the list of state sponsors of terrorism, the White House said today, a move which was immediately welcomed by top American lawmakers.
"Today, the President submitted to Congress the statutorily required report and certifications indicating the administration's intent to rescind Cuba's State Sponsor of Terrorism designation," White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said.
Cuba was designated a State Sponsor of Terrorism in 1982 due to its efforts to promote armed revolution by organisations that used terrorism. It has remained on the list since then
In a communication to the Congress, Obama said Cuba has not provided any support for international terrorism during the preceding 6-month period. Cuba has provided assurances that it will not support acts of international terrorism in the future, he said
Last week, the State Department had submitted a report to the White House recommending that Obama rescind Cuba's designation as a State Sponsor of Terrorism. "This recommendation reflects the Department's assessment that Cuba meets the criteria established by Congress for rescission," Secretary of State John Kerry said. "While the United States has had, and continues to have, significant concerns and disagreements with a wide range of Cuba's policies and actions, these concerns and disagreements fall outside of the criteria for designation as a State Sponsor of Terrorism," he said.
"This review focused on the narrow questions of whether Cuba provided any support for international terrorism during the previous six months, and whether Cuba has provided assurances that it will not support acts of international terrorism in the future, consistent with the statutory standard for rescission," Kerry said. In a statement, Democrat Leader Nancy Pelosi said Obama has taken an important step forward toward restored relations with Cuba.
"Taking Cuba off the state sponsors of terror list removes an outdated designation that no longer serves the security interests of the United States, nor the democratic aspirations of the Cuban people," she said. "This move continues the historic normalisation of relations between our countries. It will facilitate the opening of new markets for American banks and businesses, and new opportunities for the people of Cuba," Pelosi said.
Senator Dick Durbin also welcomed the move. "That Cuba is no longer involved in such activities is a positive step forward in normalising relations between our two nations and giving the Cuban people greater opportunities to join the global community," he said. "While no fan of the Castro regime, I continue to believe that opening up the island to American ideas, vibrancy, and trade is the most effective way to see a more open and tolerant Cuba," Durbin said.