US-Cuba ties: Kerry meets with Alan Gross, family upon landing in US

American aid worker Alan Gross (third right) disembarks with his wife Judy (fourth left) from a US government plane as he arrives at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland outside Washington Dec 17, 2014 in this photo tweeted by US Senator Jeff Flake. -- PHOTO
American aid worker Alan Gross (third right) disembarks with his wife Judy (fourth left) from a US government plane as he arrives at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland outside Washington Dec 17, 2014 in this photo tweeted by US Senator Jeff Flake. -- PHOTO: REUTERS 

WASHINGTON (REUTERS) - US 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.