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Mother Teresa Offers Her Help, Hostage's Sister Says

July 15, 1986|United Press International

ATHENS — The sister of an American held hostage by Muslim militants in Lebanon said today that Nobel Peace Prize winner Mother Teresa promised to try to help free her brother.

Peggy Say of Batavia, N.Y., arrived in Athens on Monday to be briefed on the efforts of the American-born wife of Prime Minister Andreas Papandreou, Margaret, to free the five American hostages.

Say, whose brother, Terry Anderson, 38, Beirut bureau manager for the Associated Press, has been held captive 17 months, met Mother Teresa by chance. A spokesman of the Catholic Archdiocese of Athens said Mother Teresa came to inaugurate a community established by her order in Athens.

Sisters in Lebanon

"I met Mother Teresa at the airport," Say said. "She said that she has sisters in Lebanon and she will ask them to help. She also said that she will pray for the hostages' release."

On her arrival at the Athens airport, Say said she was carrying letters from the families of all the American hostages to Margaret Papandreou "expressing their appreciation for her efforts" and letters from the families to the abductors.

Papandreou, a native of Elmhurst, Ill., and president of the Greek Womens Union, visited Syria last week and met with President Hafez Assad and representatives of the Syrian Women's Federation.

Say said she was carrying two letters to the captors of William Buckley from his family and one to the abductors of Alec Collett, a British journalist, from his American wife.

Buckley, 56, of Medford, Mass., a political officer at the U.S. Embassy, was kidnaped in March, 1984. The Islamic Jihad, or Holy War, claimed to have executed him but his body was never found. Collett, 63, a free-lance journalist, was kidnaped March 25, 1985, while on assignment for the U.N. Relief and Works Agency.

The Revolutionary Organization of Socialist Muslims produced videotapes of him in captivity and a tape on April 23 of what it said was his hanging in revenge for the U.S. strikes on Libya. No body was found.

"In their letters, the two families had asked the captors to confirm their claim that these two hostages are dead by sending their remains home or permit them to communicate with family members if they are still alive," Say said.

Possible Syrian Trip

She said she was not ruling out a trip to Syria "but I have no plans at the moment to go there. I am hoping to get some guidance from Mrs. Papandreou as to the best way to perhaps get in touch with somebody that would take the responsibility and deliver letters for me."

Besides Buckley and Anderson, the other American hostages held by pro-Syrian guerrillas in Lebanon are Father Lawrence Jenco, 49, of Joliet, Ill.; David Jacobsen, 54, of Huntington Beach, Calif., administrator of the American University Hospital, and Thomas Sutherland, 53, a Scottish-born American from Colorado, dean of the Agricultural School of the American University of Beirut.

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