US President Barack Obama has told Congress that he plans to remove Cuba from the US list of state sponsors of terrorism.

The White House said Mr Obama had submitted a report and certifications required under law.

"We will continue to have differences with the Cuban government, but our concerns over a wide range of Cuba's policies and actions fall outside the criteria that is relevant to whether to rescind Cuba's designation as a State Sponsor of Terrorism," it said.

Cuba's inclusion on the list had been a major barrier to establishing embassies in Washington and Havana.

"The government of Cuba has not provided any support for international terrorism during the preceding six-month period," Mr Obama said in the notification to Congress.

Politicians now have 45 days in which they can oppose the decision.

If the re-designation is successful, Cuba would again have access to the US banking system, allowing an embassy to be opened and paving the way for further trade between the Cold War foes.

Cuba was first put on the list, which also includes Syria, Sudan and Iran, in 1982 for harbouring ETA Basque separatist militants and Colombian FARC rebels.

The move comes a few days after Mr Obama met Cuban President Raul Castro in Panama on the sidelines of the Summit of Americas in Panama.

Mr Obama described the meeting as historic and said the two countries can end the antagonism of the Cold War era.

The two men agreed in December to move to normalise relations, including seeking to restore diplomatic ties that were broken off by the US in 1961, the year Mr Obama was born.