As Presidents Barack Obama and Raul Castro arrived in Panama for the Summit of the Americas, reports said that the US State Department had recommended removing Cuba from its list of nations said to sponsor terrorism.
A US Senate Foreign Relations Committee aide, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said of Cuba: “State has recommended they be removed from the list”.
It comes as the Cuban and US foreign ministers met in Panama on Thursday, in the countries’ highest level talks in half a century.
Removing Cuba from the terror list would clear a major obstacle in efforts to restore diplomatic relations between Washington and Havana, paving the way for the reopening of embassies that have been shut for 54 years, and signal momentum in ending America’s isolation from the Communist island nation.
In Jamaica, earlier though, President Obama urged patience when it comes to US-Cuba relations.
“I never foresaw that immediately, overnight, everything would transform itself, that suddenly
overnight Cuba became a partner diplomatically, the way Jamaica is for example. That is
going to take some time,” he said.
Obama did not signal how he was leaning, but his previous statements have suggested that he would approve taking Cuba off the list.
Cuba was added to the list of terrorism sponsors in 1982, when it was aiding Marxist insurgencies in Colombia and elsewhere. Other countries on the list include Iran, Sudan and Syria.