The World

Syrian President Hafez Assad pledged to try to free West German hostage Rudolf Cordes from captivity in Lebanon, West German Foreign Minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher told reporters at Damascus airport before leaving for home after a two-day official visit to Syria. Cordes, 53, manager for the Frankfurt-based chemicals company Hoescht, was seized a year ago today by a group demanding the release by West Germany of Muslim fundamentalist hijack suspect Mohammed Ali Hamadi.

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