Could US, Cuba fully restore ties by April Summit of the Americas?
If the United States and Cuba moved fast enough they could reopen
embassies in time for the April 10-11 Summit of the Americas. Cuban
officials say the US must remove the country from a list of state
sponsors of terrorism.
HAVANA/WASHINGTON — Cuba would agree to restore diplomatic relations
with the United States in time for the April Summit of the Americas if
Washington quickly and convincingly removes the Caribbean country from a
list of state sponsors of terrorism, a senior Cuban official said on
Diplomatic ties were severed in 1961, and negotiators for the two
longtime adversaries will meet in Washington on Friday, following up on
the first round of talks held in Havana last month.
If the sides move fast enough, they could reopen embassies in each
other’s capitals in time for the April 10-11 summit in Panama, where
U.S. President Barack Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro could meet
for the first time since agreeing on Dec. 17 to restore ties and
“It depends on what the United States does. It does not depend on Cuba,”
Gustavo Machin, deputy director of U.S. affairs for the Cuban foreign
ministry, told reporters on Wednesday. “It depends on whether we are
really taken off the list of terrorist countries.”
In Washington, a senior U.S. State Department official said
re-establishing diplomatic relations should not be tied to Cuba’s place
on the terrorist list. If Cuba insists on linking them, it could delay
restoring ties, the official suggested.
The official said a State Department review about whether to remove Cuba
from the list will be completed “very soon,” in weeks at most.
“But we don’t think that should be linked to the restoration of
diplomatic relations,” said the official, briefing reporters on
condition of anonymity.
Obama would need to inform Congress of any decision to remove Cuba from
the list, a notification that requires 45 days to become official, which
is not enough time before the summit.
The American side has said Obama’s notification alone should be
sufficient because Congress cannot overturn the president under current law.
“I cannot say today, right now, if the act of making the announcement
would be a sufficient guarantee,” Machin said.
U.S. officials have shown a willingness to expedite the six-month review
process and remove Cuba before the summit. Cuba was added in 1982, when
it aided guerrilla movements during the Cold War.
The United States is insisting that as part of any accord, its diplomats
have freedom to travel around Cuba and meet with a variety of Cubans,
The senior State Department official acknowledged it has been
challenging to find a bank willing to handle diplomatic accounts in
Washington for Cuba, which remains under a variety of U.S. sanctions.
“Both of us have to come to the table in the spirit of getting to an
agreement on these things, and not putting so many obstacles in the way
that are not linked directly to how we function as diplomats in each
others countries,” the official said.
Source: Could US, Cuba fully restore ties by April Summit of the
Americas? – CSMonitor.com –