Cuba 'ready to negotiate' fate of US detainee Gross

Alan and Judy Gross in his native Maryland Judy Gross says her husband's health is deteriorating

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The Cuban government says it is prepared to negotiate with Washington to find a solution in the case of the detained US contractor, Alan Gross.

Mr Gross is serving a 15-year prison sentence for taking internet equipment to Cuba.

Senior Cuban diplomat Josefina Vidal said in a statement that Cuba was willing to talk to the US and was awaiting an answer.

The case of Mr Gross is seen as a major obstacle to better US-Cuban relations.

In a short statement sent to foreign correspondents and published on the Cuban Foreign Ministry's web page, Ms Vidal also rejected allegations by Alan Gross's wife that her husband's health was deteriorating.

"Mr Gross's health continues to be normal, and he regularly exercises vigorously," the statement read.

Judy Gross had said on Tuesday that her husband's health was getting worse.

"He's lost 105lb (47.7kg) and has developed degenerative arthritis and a mass behind his right shoulder blade," she said.

Mrs Gross said she feared her husband may not survive his prison sentence.

Alan Gross was detained in December 2009 while delivering computers and communications equipment to the Jewish community in Cuba.

Cuba has in the past refused US demands to release Mr Gross.

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