The United States has formally dropped Cuba from its list of state sponsors of terrorism.
Cuba’s removal from the U.S. terror watchlist, announced on Friday, means lifting of another barrier as the two North American countries try to re-establish diplomatic ties after 54 years of breakdown that almost led to armed confrontation between the U.S and Russia in what became known as Cuba Missile Crisis in October 1962.
The State Department had announced last month it had completed a review of Cuba’s place on the list.
It stated that Cuba’s government had not assisted terrorist organizations in the preceding six months and had made assurances it would not do so in future.
Under the U.S. federal law, the State Department was required to provide a 45-day review period, which ended Friday.
Many Republicans in the Congress objected to the decision.
They argue that Cuba still “harbours” known terrorists and U.S. fugitives from justice.
However, those issues were not enough to keep Cuba from being removed from the list, State Department spokesman Jeff Rathke said in a statement Friday.
Mr. Rathke added that, “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 designation of state sponsor of terrorism designation.
President Barak Obama and Cuban President, Raúl Castro, announced in December that the two countries would end their diplomatic crisis.