The State Department has sent a recommendation to the White House that Cuba be removed from the State Sponsors of Terrorism List, paving the way for the White House to announce its intent to de-list Cuba as early as Thursday, two administration officials tell CNN.
In making the recommendation, the State Department has certified Cuba has not provided support to terrorist groups within the last 6 months.
President Barack Obama ordered the review of Cuba’s place on the list after announcing a historic diplomatic breakthrough with Havana in December and pledged to act quickly once he received the recommendation from the State Department.
The White House has made clear it wanted to make the announcement before Obama attends the Summit of the Americas later this week with Cuban leader Raul Castro, and ordered the State Department to speed up the process.
Cuba’s place in the list has been a major stumbling block to efforts to restore ties between Washington and Havana, including the opening of embassies. Cuba has demanded it be dropped from the blacklist before relations are normalized.
The move to de-list Cuba would also allow for the removal of certain financial and political sanctions against the island nation. In addition, the U.S. can drop its opposition to aid from the International Monetary Fund and other major financial institutions.
Congress has 45 days from the announcement to vote to block the President’s action with a vote on a joint resolution disapproving the de-listing.