US President acts to remove Cuba from terror list

The move which has long been sought by the Cuban government and has been expected for weeks now, will likely expedite plans to re-establish embassies in both Washington and Havana.

Amidst increasing talk of restoring diplomatic relations with Cuba, United States president, Barack Obama has recommended that Cuba be removed from the U.S. government's list of state sponsors of terrorism.

The move which has long been sought by the Cuban government and has been expected for weeks now, will likely expedite plans to re-establish embassies in both Washington and Havana.

It however drew criticism from Republican contenders in the 2016 presidential race with former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush "we're not a step closer to freedom in Cuba because of the steps the president is taking"

CNN reports thatin a brief message to notify Congress of his recommendation, Obama explained his action was based on specific criteria that warranted Cuba's removal from the list.

"The government of Cuba has not provided any support for international terrorism during the preceding six-month period; and the government of Cuba has provided assurances that it will not support acts of international terrorism in the future"

Cuba was placed on the state sponsors of terrorism list in 1982 when Havana was busy supporting armed insurgencies in Latin America, during the Cold War between the U.S. and the Soviet Union.

In the last few months, there have been moves from the US to restore relations with Cuba and the most dramatic sign of the improved U.S.-Cuban relationship came last Saturday, when Obama and Raul Castro sat down for an hour long discussion on the sidelines of the Summit of the Americas in Panama.

It was the first such meeting between U.S. and Cuban leaders since 1959.

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