The U.S. moved closer to complete normalization with the tiny island of Cuba this morning, after the State Department announced that Cuba has officially been dropped from a list of state sponsors of terrorism.
"The rescission of Cuba's designation as a State Sponsor of Terrorism reflects our assessment that Cuba meets the statutory criteria for rescission," the department said in a written statement. "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 rescission of a State Sponsor of Terrorism designation."
The move is the latest in a series of action to restore ties to the socialist country that lies just 70 miles off the coast of Florida. Last month President Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro met for the first head of state dialog in 54 years.
In an interview last month, President Obama said that the change in the relationship with Cuba is "a real opportunity" for both countries.
"Our hope is to be in a position where we can open an embassy there — that we can start having more regular contacts and consultations around a whole host of issues, some of which we have interests in common," the president told Steve Inskeep.
By removing Cuba from the list of state terrorism sponsors some sanctions placed on the coutnry are automatically removed, a crucial step in normalizing relations. The country still has other sanctions which must be manually lifted by Congress.