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US senators meet Cuba's Castro about contractor

Visiting US senators discuss fate of contractor Alan Gross with Cuba's Raul Castro By The Associated Press

HAVANA (AP) ' A senior U.S. senator says he met with imprisoned American Alan Gross and discussed the man's case with Cuban President Raul Castro, but that no release was likely any time soon.

Sen. Patrick Leahy is a Democrat from Vermont and told The Associated Press that he saw Gross Thursday afternoon. Leahy said he later spoke for 2 1/2 hours with Castro, along with Sen. Richard Shelby, a Republican from Alabama.

Of efforts to get Gross released, Leahy said: "We have a long way to go."

The senator said the meeting with Castro was cordial. He said the Cuban leader raised the issue of five Cuban agents sentenced to long jail terms in the United States, although Castro never explicitly said Cuba was looking to link Gross' fate to theirs.

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