US yet to decide Cuba terror list status
US President Barack Obama has yet to decide whether to remove Cuba from a list of state sponsors of terrorism, an aide said Friday ahead of Obama’s historic meeting with Cuba’s leader.
Asked if there could be an announcement about the list during the Summit of the Americas in Panama, senior White House adviser Ben Rhodes told reporters: “I’m not ruling out any announcement but… we are not there yet in terms of a final recommendation being made to the president, and the president making a determination.”
A leading US senator said on Thursday that the US State Department had recommended that Cuba be removed from the blacklist.
But Rhodes declined to say what the department had concluded, and he said the review was now in the hands of Obama’s national security team, which will then deliver its verdict to him.
Once Obama makes a decision, the US Congress will have 45 days to decide whether to override it.
Having Cuba on the list, which includes Syria, Iran and Sudan, has been a major hurdle in negotiations to reopen embassies, which closed after relations broke in 1961.
Obama will meet with Cuban President Raul Castro during the summit, which opens late Friday and continues Saturday, when the two leaders will hold talks.
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