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Obama says no decision yet on removing Cuba from terror sponsor list

(Xinhua)    10:32, April 10, 2015

KINGSTON, April 9 -- U.S. President Barack Obamasaid here Thursday that no decision has been made as to removing Cuba from the State Sponsor of Terrorism list.

He made the remarks while answering a question from the press after meeting with Jamaican Prime Minister Portia Simpson-Miller.

"There's a process involved in reviewing whether or not a country should be on the State Sponsor of Terrorism list. That review has been completed at the State Department. It is now forwarded to the White House. Our interagency team will go through the entire thing and then present it to me with a recommendation. That hasn't happened yet," he said, adding that he won't make a formal announcement on Thursday about what those recommendations are, not until "I've received them."

On U.S.-Cuban relations, Obama said, "I never foresaw that immediately overnight everything would transform itself, that suddenly Cuba became a partner diplomatically with us the way Jamaica is, for example. That's going to take some time."

But he stressed that the two countries are in a position "to move forward on the opening of embassies in respective countries."

Making known his expectation, the U.S. president said there will be a series of steps and measures to build trust and establish genuine dialogue during the course of this year and into next year.

However, he admitted that there will still be "significant differences" between the two countries given Cuba's system of government, given its positions on some of the issues in the region.

"But we're confident that this process of engagement will ultimately lead to not just improved relations between the United Statesand Cuba, but will also end up being beneficial for the Cuban people and give them the kinds of opportunities that they might not have in the past."

Citing a recent poll which showed overwhelming support within Cuba for this process, Obama said "I think there is a great interest among ordinary Cubans to be able to put one era behind them and to be able to move forward and have the kinds of relationships with the United States and the rest of the world that is reflective of the fact that we have a integrated, 21st century global economy and that they have to be a part of it."

Last December, U.S. announced to normalize its relations with Cuba after severing their diplomatic ties in 1961 and imposing an embargo on the island country.

Many had expected that the two countries would reopen embassies ahead of the seventh summit of the Americas slated for this Friday and Saturday in Panama. But three rounds of talks over restoring diplomatic relations and reopening embassies had failed to make much headway due to Washington's failure to delist Havana as a sponsor of state terrorism.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Editor:Huang Jin,Yao Chun)

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