Waite Sees U.S. Officials, Will Return to Beirut
Church of England envoy Terry Waite talked to U.S officials today about his efforts to free four U.S. hostages and announced that he will return to Lebanon, where the suspected kidnapers said a French hostage is “pitifully sick.”
“Mr. Waite leaves for Paris . . . tonight and will go on to Beirut in the morning,” Eve Keatley, spokeswoman for the Archbishop of Canterbury, said.
Keatley told reporters that Waite held meetings today in London, after his contact with the kidnapers in Beirut last week, but she refused to give any details.
She said Waite’s mission is in “a very delicate situation and we’ve nothing more to add.”
A U.S. Embassy spokesman said American officials met Waite in London but refused to say whether he will be conveying any sort of American proposal or response to the kidnapers.
Reagan spokesman Larry Speakes said earlier in Geneva that the Administration is anxious for direct word on the American hostages and “we look forward to receiving information” from Waite about his visit to Beirut last week.
Warning to French
In Beirut, a statement signed by the Islamic Jihad, or Islamic Holy War, which claims to be holding the Americans, warned the French government against stalling negotiations for the release of four French hostages, one of whom was “in a pitifully sick condition.”
“It is important for us to explain to public opinion and the French government that one of the French hostages is in a pitifully sick condition that may expose his life to danger in spite of our great and thorough interest in the health of all the hostages and their safety,” the statement said.
Waite undertook his assignment after the Archbishop of Canterbury received a letter 10 days ago signed by four of the Americans: Terry Anderson, 38, chief Middle East correspondent of the Associated Press; Father Lawrence Jenco, 50, a Roman Catholic relief official; David Jacobsen, 54, director of the American University Hospital in Beirut, and Thomas Sutherland, 53, dean of agriculture at the American University of Beirut.
They wrote that they had been told that a fifth hostage, U.S. diplomat William Buckley, 57, is dead. They made no mention of Peter Kilburn, 60, a university librarian missing since Dec. 3, 1984.