Cuba is no longer officially a state sponsor of terrorism, the U.S. State Department announced Friday. The long-awaited move is the latest development in ongoing diplomatic talks between Washington and Havana to restore relations between the two nations.
President Barack Obama announced in April that Cuba would be removed from the list of nations that support terrorism. Congress did not have to approve the decision. Lifting the terror designation removes some trade barriers against Cuba, but the overall embargo against the Caribbean nation has not been struck down.
Washington put Cuba on the terrorism list in 1982, after Havana supported armed guerrilla movements in Latin America, Reuters reported. With the announcement Friday, now only Iran, Syria and Sudan remain on the list.
Here is the State Department's statement on Cuba:
"In December 2014, the President instructed the Secretary of State to immediately launch a review of Cuba’s designation as a State Sponsor of Terrorism, and provide a report to him within six months regarding Cuba’s support for international terrorism. On April 8, 2015, the Secretary of State completed that review and recommended to the President that Cuba no longer be designated as a State Sponsor of Terrorism.
"Accordingly, on April 14, the President submitted to Congress the statutorily required report indicating the Administration’s intent to rescind Cuba’s State Sponsor of Terrorism designation, including the certification that Cuba has not provided any support for international terrorism during the previous six-months; and that Cuba has provided assurances that it will not support acts of international terrorism in the future. The 45-day Congressional pre-notification period has expired, and the Secretary of State has made the final decision to rescind Cuba’s designation as a State Sponsor of Terrorism, effective today, May 29, 2015.
"The rescission of Cuba’s designation as a State Sponsor of Terrorism reflects our assessment that Cuba meets the statutory criteria for rescission. While the United States has significant concerns and disagreements with a wide range of Cuba’s policies and actions, these fall outside the criteria relevant to the rescission of a State Sponsor of Terrorism designation."