Rabbi Arthur Schneier meets with U.S. subcontractor Alan Gross in Havana, Cuba, March 6, 2012.
Rabbi Arthur Schneier meets with U.S. subcontractor Alan Gross, right, in the facility where he is being held in Havana, Cuba, March 6, 2012. Photo by AP
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A Cuban diplomat said Wednesday her country is prepared to negotiate the case of a jailed Jewish-American contractor, but is awaiting a U.S. response.

The foreign ministry official, Josefina Vidal, rejected allegations by the wife of 63-year-old Maryland native Alan Gross that his health is failing after more than two and one half years in custody.

"Cuba reiterates its willingness... to find a solution in the case of Mr. Gross and continues to await an answer," Vidal said in a statement sent to The Associated Press.

Previously, senior officials in President Raul Castro's government have raised the case of five Cuban agents sentenced to long jail terms in the United States, though they have not publicly sought an exchange.

U.S. officials say, however, that Havana has made it clear they want a quid pro quo, which Washington has rejected.

Gross, who was obese, has lost more than 100 pounds in custody. "Mr. Gross's health continues to be normal and he exercises regularly," claimed Vidal in her statement.

At the time of his arrest, Gross was working on a USAID-funded program to provide internet service for Cuba's small Jewish community.

He was sentenced to 15 years for crimes against the state, and has lost his final appeal, eliminating his legal options.