WASHINGTON - US officials met Cuban officials recently to discuss the case of Alan Gross, a Jewish-American aid contractor imprisoned on the communist-ruled island, US Undersecretary of State Wendy Sherman said on Friday.
But she declined to comment on a US media report which said Washington offered to let a convicted Cuban spy freed last week from a US jail, Rene Gonzalez, return home immediately in exchange for Havana's release of Gross.
The Associated Press report, citing unnamed US officials, said Cuba rebuffed the American offer to lift parole restrictions requiring Gonzalez to remain in the United States for three years. Havana asked that Washington also pardon at least some of the four other Cuban spies who were jailed along with Gonzalez in 2001, according to the report.
"I can confirm that a meeting between US officials and the Cubans did take place as part of our efforts to get Alan Gross home," Sherman told the House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee, adding the meeting was "quite recent."