Cuba to Be Removed from US’ List of Sponsors of Terrorism

(Telesur) – The move could happen as early as April paving the way for diplomatic embassies in Washington and Havana.

The United States responded positively to Cuba’s call to be taken off from the U.S. list of state sponsors of terrorism, a condition put forward by Havana before embassies could be opened in their respective capitals.

Roberta Jacobson, the U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs, said on Friday during a press conference that her country is reviewing the terror list and will remove Cuba from it before April to pave the way for better ties between both nations.

“We are going to do that as quickly as we can in accordance with the requirements of the law, but we see that and the establishment of diplomatic relations as separate processes,” Jacobson said.

The Cuban government has insisted that diplomatic relations cannot exist while one country has the other one on a list of sponsors of terrorism.

“For us it would be difficult to explain that Cuba and the U.S. have re-established normal diplomatic relations while Cuba is kept in that list that we believe we have never belonged to,” said Josefina Vidal, director of Cuban Foreign Ministry’s North American affairs office, who is heading her country’s delegation in the talks.

Both Jacobson and Vidal said the two sides also worked out details of upcoming bilateral technical meetings over the next few weeks on issues such as smuggling, direct civil aviation and prevention of immigration fraud.

Cuba and the United States announced in December that they agreed to restore diplomatic ties after more than 50 years of frosty and sometimes hostile confrontations.

Both representatives in the second round of talks that took place Friday in Washington said they made good progress, although they did not set a date for renewal of diplomatic relations that Washington severed 54 years ago, imposing an illegal blockade on the island nation.

See Also: Timeline of Cuban-US Bilateral Relations

Vidal expressed a willingness to continue the dialogue in order to reestablish diplomatic relations.

“We are confident that there can be civilized relations and coexistence between Cuba and the United States and that we would be able to recognize and respect our difference so that as neighbors we can identify areas of mutual interest to cooperate for the benefit of our two countries, the region and world,” Vidal stated.

​These most recent talks continue the dialogue initiated by the parties on January 22 in Havana, Cuba and are a key step in implementing the new direction in U.S.-Cuba relations announced by President Obama on December 17, 2014.