Obama to de­cide on Cuba’s ter­ror list­ing

The China Post - - INTERNATIONAL -

U.S. Pres­i­dent Barack Obama will de­cide in “the next days” whether to re­move Cuba from a black­list of state spon­sors of ter­ror­ism, top diplo­mat John Kerry said Sun­day, re­fus­ing to di­vulge what he had rec­om­mended.

Obama held his­toric talks on Satur­day with Cuban Pres­i­dent Raul Cas­tro, meet­ing for more than an hour on the side­lines of a Panama sum­mit as the two coun­tries seek to bury decades of Cold War-era hos­til­ity.

But de­spite ram­pant spec­u­la­tion, Obama made no an­nounce­ment about whether he had de­cided to meet Ha­vana’s de­mand to be struck from the black­list.

Cuba was first put on the list, which also in­cludes Syria, Su­dan and Iran, in 1982 for har­bor­ing ETA Basque sep­a­ratist mil­i­tants and Colom­bian FARC rebels.

Sec­re­tary of State Kerry ac­knowl­edged Sun­day that af­ter a lengthy re­view his depart­ment has made a rec­om­men­da­tion to the pres­i­dent.

“I’m go­ing to al­low the pres­i­dent the lat­i­tude which he de­serves ... to be able to make his de­ci­sion based on the rec­om­men­da­tion we made,” Kerry told CBS’s “Face the Na­tion.”

“He will make his de­ci­sion in the next days, as the in­ter-agency process works through what we have eval­u­ated,” Kerry said.

The United States and com­mu­nist-run Cuba broke re­la­tions in 1961, the year Obama was born.

More than a half-cen­tury later, Cas­tro and Obama stunned the world when they an­nounced on Dec. 17 that they would seek to re­store diplo­matic ties, the cul­mi­na­tion of 18 months of se­cret ne­go­ti­a­tions.

Kerry’s depart­ment is lead­ing the ne­go­ti­a­tions with Cuban diplo­mats on paving the way to­wards restor­ing diplo­matic ties.

But de­spite three rounds of talks since Jan­uary, no an­nounce­ment or vis­i­ble progress has been made.

Ha­vana has de­manded that it be struck from the ter­ror black­list which has de­nied it valu­able ac­cess to the global bank­ing sys­tem.

Mean­while, Wash­ing­ton is urg­ing that if its em­bassy in Ha­vana is to re­open U.S. diplo­mats must have free ac­cess to meet with Cuban dis­si­dents.

It had hoped that the two coun­tries could re-es­tab­lish diplo­matic ties be­fore Amer­i­cas.

But Obama ac­knowl­edged in Panama “there will con­tinue to be sig­nif­i­cant dif­fer­ences be­tween our two coun­tries.”

“We will con­tinue to speak out on be­half of uni­ver­sal val­ues that we think are im­por­tant. I’m sure Pres­i­dent Cas­tro will con­tinue to speak out on the is­sues he thinks are im­por­tant.”

the Sum­mit




In this Fri­day, April 10 photo, a man takes pic­tures of an il­lu­mi­nated iron sculp­ture of Cuba’s rev­o­lu­tion­ary hero Ernesto “Che” Gue­vara, with a mes­sage that reads in Span­ish “Un­til victory, al­ways,” fea­tured on the fa­cade of the In­te­rior Min­istry build­ing, on Revo­lu­tion Square in Ha­vana, Cuba.

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