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Elian To Meet Father Wednesday

April 12, 2000

WASHINGTON (AP) _ Elian Gonzalez’s Miami relatives will bring the 6-year-old boy to Washington Wednesday for a meeting with his father, a Cuban exile group and Sen. Robert Torricelli’s office said.

Jorge Mas Santos, chairman of the Cuban American National Foundation, told reporters Tuesday night that Elian’s great-uncle Lazaro Gonzales would bring the boy to Washington for the meeting.

There was no immediate confirmation from either the Justice Department or from the father, Juan Miguel Gonzalez, who is staying at Cuban diplomat’s home outside Washington.

Mas said the meeting would be closed to all non-family members except Torricelli and Deputy Attorney General Eric Holder. He said the meeting would occur at noon at a place yet to be decided.

``It’s going to be at a neutral site, and there’s basically going to be a resolution of the situation,″ Jose Cardenas, Washington director the Cuban exile group told The Associated Press.

The meeting was announced at a Capitol Hill news conference. Torricelli did not attend the news conference, but his spokesman, Richard McGrath, confirmed that the senator was involved in the negotiations to bring the boy to Washington.

``After four and a half months, the private meeting that this family has so yearned for with Juan Miguel Gonzalez tomorrow will be a reality,″ Mas said. He said the family and the Justice Department had both agreed to the details.

The government had planned to send the Miami relatives a letter outlining how and when they are to hand him over, but last Tuesday a Justice Department official said the letter would not be sent. The official also said it was unlikely that Reno would travel to Miami on Wednesday, as was earlier thought.

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