US President Donald Trump’s decision to list Cuba as a sponsor of terrorism is unreasonable and regrettable, Foreign Minister Ine Eriksen Søreide (H) believes.
The outgoing US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced on Monday that Cuba would again be placed on the list of countries that sponsor terrorism, along with Iran, Syria, and North Korea.
He also announced stricter sanctions.
“The Castro regime must end its support for international terrorism,” he said, referring to Cuba’s support of Colombian rebels.
Norway’s Foreign Minister Ine Eriksen Søreide is critical of the decision and believes the move will be an obstacle to positive development in Cuba.
“The Trump administration’s decision to include Cuba in the list of states that sponsor terrorism is regrettable,” she told news bureau NTB.
Søreide, who earlier this week criticized the Trump administration’s similar move involving the Houthi movement in Yemen, reacted in particular to the reasons Pompeo gave for the Cuba decision.
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“One of the reasons for the listing is that the peace negotiation delegation from the Colombian guerrilla movement ELN is still in Cuba,” she said.
A Norwegian partner
Peace talks between the ELN and the Colombian government took place in Cuba but broke down in January 2019. The ELN delegation has been unable to return to its home country since.
“Cuba has been Norway’s partner in the peace processes in Colombia. It is unreasonable for the outgoing American administration to blame the Cubans for the negotiating delegation not being able to leave Cuba,” Søreide added.
“It can create a negative precedent for international peace work if a country risks being listed as a terrorist (sponsor) as a result of such work,” she warned.
Former US President Barack Obama removed Cuba from the US list of state sponsors of terror and resumed diplomatic relations with the country in 2015.
Then-Vice President Joe Biden wholeheartedly supported the decision.
However, the decision was met with outrage in the strongly anti-communist Cuban exile community in Florida, where President Donald Trump has many supporters.
Since then, Trump has reversed Obama’s policies and reintroduced strict restrictions on flights and trade.
The reversal has been justified by, among other things, Cuba’s close cooperation with Nicolas Maduro’s regime in Venezuela.
The Cuba move is part of Trump’s series of measures in recent days. Trump has to leave office on January 20, when he will hand over the presidency to President-elect Biden.
To reverse the Cuba move, Biden’s incoming foreign minister will have to launch a formal process and prove that the Havana regime has not been involved in terrorism in six months.
Cuba completely rejects the allegations of supporting terrorism, pointing out that they have been subjected to repeated American attacks and plots over the years themselves, and accusing Pompeo and Trump of hypocrisy.
“We condemn the US announcement of the hypocritical and cynical designation of Cuba as a state that sponsors terrorism,” Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez tweeted.
“Cuba is a state that’s a victim of terrorism carried out for years by the US government or individuals and organizations operating on behalf of US authorities,” a spokesman for the Cuban Foreign Ministry told AFP.
Source: © NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today / #NorwayTodayNews
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