Cuba removed from US terror list
Cuba was removed from a U.S. terrorism list on Friday - a key demand from Havana as the Cold War rivals work to re-establish diplomatic relations, Anadolu agency reported.
"The rescission of Cuba's designation as a state sponsor of terrorism reflects our assessment that Cuba meets the statutory criteria for rescission," State Department spokesman Jeff Rathke said in a statement.
He added that while Washington continues to have "concerns and disagreements with a wide range of Cuba's policies and actions", they do not contribute to the terror designation.
President Barack Obama ordered the State Department to review Cuba's designation last December, and Secretary of State John Kerry recommended that Havana be removed from the list in April, setting in motion a 45-day congressional review period that expired Friday.
The communist island nation was placed on the list in 1982 because of what Washington said were efforts "to promote armed revolution by organizations that used terrorism".
Cuban President Raul Castro said earlier this month that his country's removal from the terror list would be followed by an exchange of ambassadors.
It's unclear when that might happen, but White House spokesman Eric Schultz on Thursday told reporters, "we're much closer to reestablishing relations and reopening embassies".
Castro and Obama held an historic meeting at the Summit of the Americas in Panama in mid-April in the first such meeting between American and Cuban leaders in decades.
The U.S. and Cuba have held four rounds of talks aimed at re-establishing relations, the most recent of which concluded last Friday.
Diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba were severed more than 50 years ago in 1961 after communist guerillas toppled the former Cuban President Fulgencio Batista.