December 17, 2014 / 5:34 PM / 3 years ago

Kerry meets with Alan Gross, family upon landing in U.S.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry walks across the tarmac after arriving at Andrews Air Force Base to meet with released American prisoner Alan Gross, who was held in a Cuban prison for more than five years, in Andrews Air Force Base, Maryland December 17, 2014.Evan Vucci/Pool

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Secretary of State John Kerry met with released American aid worker Alan Gross shortly after he landed at Andrews Air Force Base from Cuba on Wednesday, the State Department said.

Kerry, who worked with his Cuban counterpart and Vatican officials to secure the release of Gross, was able to welcome him home and "express his overwhelming happiness that Alan Gross is now free and reunited with his family on American soil," the department said in a statement.

The meeting was unplanned, the statement said, and came about since Kerry was returning from Europe at about the same time that Gross was arriving from Cuba.

Writing by Doina Chiacu; Editing by Bill Trott

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