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Waite Sends Message He Is Talking With Hostage Holders

January 22, 1987|Associated Press

BEIRUT — Anglican Church envoy Terry Waite sent word from a secret location that he was in the second day of negotiations with kidnapers who hold American hostages, the militia that guards him reported today.

West Germany urged its citizens to leave Lebanon, where two West Germans have been kidnaped in less than a week.

"Mr. Waite is fine and he is still negotiating with the hostage-holders," said an official of Walid Jumblatt's Druze militia, which is responsible for Waite's security.

"He sent word overnight through an intermediary to assure us of his well-being. We have no reason to get worried," the militia official said.

Waite, the personal emissary of Archbishop of Canterbury Robert A. K. Runcie, has been in Beirut since Jan. 12 on his fifth mission since late 1985 on behalf of the hostages. He was driven away from the Riviera Hotel in Muslim West Beirut's Ein Mreisseh district Tuesday night to meet the kidnapers.

The same Druze militia official said earlier that Waite was talking with Islamic Jihad, or Islamic Holy War. The Shia Muslim group says it holds Terry A. Anderson, 39, chief Middle East correspondent of the Associated Press, and Thomas Sutherland, 55, acting dean of agriculture at the American University of Beirut. Both were kidnaped in 1985.

The Druze official said Wednesday the kidnapers assured Waite that he would be allowed to "see and converse" with Anderson and Sutherland.

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