Waite says His Hostage Efforts Continue
LONDON (AP) _ Anglican church envoy Terry Waite said Sunday he has resumed contacts aimed at winning the release of kidnapped hostages in Lebanon, although recent political developments had made the task more difficult.
But Waite, speaking in a British Broadcasting Corp. radio interview, said he did not think his work had been undermined by the news about U.S. arms sales to Iran with some of the cash payments for the arms going to U.S.-backed rebels in Nicaragua.
″I know my own motives and my own intents,″ he said. ″I’m totally clear and independent of any government, American, British or any other.″
He said, however, that some of his contacts in Lebanon’s Shiite Moslem community had become ″a little frayed by all the political mish-mash of the last weeks.″
In some cases it may be difficult for him to have continuing contact with them for those political reasons, he said.
″However, I’m glad to say that in the last few days I have resumed contact with a number of Lebanese friends, and I’m fairly confident that it’s going to be possible to continue what is a purely humanitarian and right thing to do in seeking the release of these people.″ he said.
Waite, special envoy of the archbishop of Canterbury, Robert Runcie, has been instrumental in helping win the release of several hostages kidnapped in Lebanon - most recently the Nov. 2 freeing of American David Jacobsen by the Shiite Moslem group Islamic Jihad. Jacobsen had been held for 17 months.
Those Americans missing in Lebanon are Terry Anderson, chief Middle East correspondent for The Associated Press; Thomas Sutherland, acting dean of agriculture at the American University in Beirut; Frank Herbert Reed, director of the Lebanese International School; Joseph James Cicippio, acting comptroller of the American University in Beirut, and Edward Austin Tracy, a self-described writer.
Also reported missing is William Buckley, a political officer at the U.S. Embassy in Beirut. Islamic Jihad claims to have killed Buckley, but his body never has been found and there was speculation he died in captivity.