James Carter in Havana with Cardinal Jaime Ortega in March 2011.

HAVANA TIMES — Former US President Jimmy Carter said today that his country and Cuba could achieve a more “sincere” dialogue if, among other things, Washington takes the island off its annual list of state sponsors of terrorism, reported DPA news.

Carter spoke at the annual meeting of the Development Bank of Latin America (CAF), the organization of American States (OAS) and the Inter-American Dialogue Center in Washington.

He noted that the role of Havana as “guarantor” of the upcoming peace process between the FARC guerillas and the Colombian government dismantles any argument about the need to continue to include the island on the blacklist of the US State Department.

Carter recalled that “the main reason” given by the administration for keeping Cuba on the blacklist is “because the FARC have offices in Cuba,” highlighted DPA.

“But the last time I was in Havana (April 2011), the ambassadors of Colombia and Spain told me to have them [the FARC] there offers an opportunity for dialogue,” he said and pointed specifically to the role of Cuba in the upcoming peace talks announced by Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos.

The former Democratic president (1977-1981) stressed that improving relations between the US and Cuba “requires courage on both sides,” but warned that the economic embargo and other US sanctions are not helping to create a climate of trust, let alone, to advance the democratic interests of Washington on the island.

“All of us should continue to press the Cuban government to respect human rights and political openness, but the embargo undermines any credibility that my country has when calling for improvements in Cuba,” said Carter.


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