Perez de Cuellar Sees Hostage Hope

Associated Press

U.N. Secretary General Javier Perez de Cuellar said Friday that he hopes to make more headway soon in his efforts to resolve the Middle East hostage crisis.

In a related development, an Israeli plane brought home an exiled Palestinian and the remains of a missing Israeli soldier, representing another piece of the complicated effort to arrange a broad-based hostage agreement that would include freeing the 10 Westerners held in Lebanon.

Asked to comment on reports that a hostage release could be imminent, Perez de Cuellar said before boarding a special flight from Tehran to Saudi Arabia that he hopes to have "some positive results in the next days or weeks."

Early Friday, an unmarked Israeli Boeing 707 landed at an air force base near Tel Aviv. It brought Ali abu Hilal, deported by Israel from his West Bank home in 1986, and the remains of Sgt. Samir Assad, kidnaped in Lebanon in 1983.

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