16:22 GMT28 January 2021
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    Washington removed Havana from the list back in 2015, with the diplomatic step hoped to mend ties, including economic ones, between the two sides.

    Incumbent President Donald Trump's administration will return Cuba to the US list of state sponsors of terrorism, Bloomberg News reported citing two State Department sources. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo could announce Cuba's designation as soon as Monday, one of the officials said on condition of anonymity. 

    The move will be made on the grounds that Cuba allegedly continues to harbour American fugitives and refuses a Colombian extradition request for National Liberation Army members linked to a 2019 bombing, the edition specified.

    Designation by Washington as a state sponsor of terrorism, seen as the major step to sanctions, would put Cuba in the company of Iran, North Korea, Syria, and Sudan. It is also seen as potentially complicating any efforts by the incoming Joe Biden administration to improve relations with Havana.

    The United States removed Cuba from its list of state sponsors of terrorism in May 2015, in a bid to eliminate a key obstacle to restoring diplomatic ties between the old enemies. The change of policy allowed Cuba to conduct banking in the US, among other business activities.

    The first reports about the US considering returning Cuba to its list of state sponsors of terrorism emerged in May. According to the then-cited officials, there was a “convincing case” that such a move should be made against Havana. In part, it was allegedly because of its continued support for socialist Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro as well as the refuge it provides for leaders of Colombia’s ELN rebel group.

    As a perceived preliminary step, the Trump administration said at the time it had put the Communist-governed island back on a separate list of countries that do not cooperate fully with its efforts to counter terrorism. Havana, which has long denied having any links to terrorism, dismissed the State Department’s announcement as “spurious”.

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    Tags:
    terrorism, Havana, Washington, Cuba
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