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Dornan Reports Syrian Pledge to Work for Hostages’ Release

From staff and wire reports

Rep. Robert K. Dornan (R-Garden Grove) said Sunday that Syria, a power broker in Lebanon, has promised to exert its influence to help free five American hostages--including David P. Jacobsen of Huntington Beach--now held by Lebanese Moslem extremists.

Dornan also said he was delaying his departure by a day, until Tuesday, to personally deliver a letter signed by 247 members of Congress to President Hafez Assad, who Dornan said has agreed to meet with him.

The letter seeks Assad’s help to secure the release of the five Americans believed held by Islamic militants in Lebanon’s Bekaa valley.

The letter urges Assad “to demonstrate humanitarianism and help return our long-suffering American hostages to their homes and families.”

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Dornan, who arrived in Syria on Friday, made the announcement to reporters following a meeting with Syrian Foreign Minister Farouk Al-Sharaa. Also at the meeting were Isam Hayani, the head of the Americas Department of the Syrian Foreign Ministry, and U.S. Ambassador William Eagleton.

“The foreign minister has pledged that Syria will display all its efforts to ensure the release of our citizens unharmed,” Dornan said.

The hostages, each kidnaped on the streets of Beirut, are Jacobsen, the administrator of American University Hospital in Beirut; Terry Anderson, chief Middle East correspondent of the Associated Press; the Rev. Lawrence Jenco, head of the Catholic Relief Service in Beirut; William Buckley, political officer at the American Embassy, and Thomas Sutherland, dean of agriculture at American University of Beirut.


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