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US Senators meet with Cuba’s Raul Castro

HAVANA (AP) – Cuban state media says a pair of senior U.S. senators have met with Cuban President Raul Castro in the first such high-level meeting between the Cold War enemies in nearly a year.

Communist Party daily Granma reported that Senators Patrick Leahy, a Democrat from Vermont, and Richard Shelby, a Republican from Alabama, met late Thursday with the Cuban leader. The talks come during a low-point in U.S.-Cuba relations over the continued detention of American subcontractor Alan Gross.

Gross is serving a 15-year jail term on the island for spiriting in communications equipment while on a USAID-funded democracy building program.

Granma did not say what was discussed, though virtually all American visitors have raised Gross’s case with Cuban authorities, and many have been allowed to meet with him behind bars.

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