In groundbreaking move, Cuba, US release prisoners, will seek to normalize relations
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In groundbreaking move, Cuba, US release prisoners, will seek to normalize relations

A senior Obama administration official says Cuba has released American Alan Gross, who has been imprisoned for five years.

The official says Gross has departed Cuba on a U.S. government plane bound for the United States. He was released on humanitarian grounds by the Cuban government at the request of the United States, the official said.

The official insisted on anonymity because the official was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly by name.

American officials also say the U.S. and Cuba will start talks to normalize full diplomatic relations as part of the most significant shift in U.S. policy toward the island in decades.

See also: US media calls for end to Cuba embargo

Officials say the U.S. is also looking to open an embassy in Havana in the coming months. The moves are part of an agreement between the U.S. and Cuba that includes the release of Alan Gross and three Cubans jailed in Florida for spying.

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Florida, said the agreement includes normalizing banking and trade ties with Cuba.