President Barack Obama vowed on Tuesday to act quickly once he receives a State Department recommendation on whether to remove Cuba from the US list of terrorism-sponsoring countries, a remaining obstacle to the restoration of relations between Washington and Havana.
With just days to go before a hemispheric summit in Panama where Obama will come face-to-face with Cuban President Raul Castro, he offered no clear sign of how he was leaning or the timeframe for his decision. He ordered the review immediately after announcing a diplomatic breakthrough with Havana on Dec. 17.
Obama, in a Reuters interview in early March, said he hoped the United States
would be able to open an embassy in Cuba
by the time of the April 10-11 Summit of the Americas
, and US officials have since said the review was being expedited.
But the lack of a decision so far on taking Cuba
off the terrorism blacklist - something Havana
has steadfastly demanded - has raised strong doubts about whether the review will be finished in time to make further strides toward normalization before the summit.