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em>The Obama administration plans to proceed on forging diplomatic ties with Cuba – and potentially opening an embassy — regardless of whether the country stays on the list of state sponsors of terrorism.
A senior State Department official made clear Monday that the status of the terror listing will have no impact on the diplomatic push. In a conference call with reporters, the official said the issues are proceeding on separate tracks – on one, Secretary of State John Kerry has launched a six-month review of Cuba’s terror sponsor designation; on the other, U.S. officials head to Havana this week to start talks on normalizing ties.
The distinction underscores that little stands in the way of a U.S.-Cuba détente, after Cuba released 53 political prisoners as part of the deal – though Havana sparked renewed concerns after re-arresting, and then releasing, some of them.