Families of Kidnapped Pilgrims Pressure Suleiman on Fate of Loved Onesإقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية
The families of 11 Lebanese Shiite pilgrims kidnapped in Syria last month held talks with President Michel Suleiman at Baabda palace on Friday, a meeting that An Nahar daily expected to witness a severe criticism against the government’s inability to secure their release.
The newspaper quoted members of the committee that visited Suleiman along with MPs Ali Ammar and Ghazi Zoaiter as saying the president will hear severe criticism over the government’s management of the file 24 days after the abduction of the men in the northern province of Aleppo by armed men.
The delegation will also ask the president as to why he didn’t ask for the assistance of Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates during his Gulf tour last week, it said.
“We are surprised how our president didn’t ask for the assistance of these states that enjoy good ties with the Syrian opposition,” the sources told An Nahar.
They also said the delegation will inform Suleiman that the families will begin losing patience although they have been exercising self-restraint under the request of Hizbullah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah and Speaker Nabih Berri’s Amal movement.
The families might ask Suleiman to pay a ransom that the kidnappers have been reportedly asking for, An Nahar said as Voice of Lebanon radio (100.5) said the negotiations with the rebels reached the starting point.
Last week, the rebels holding the pilgrims said they will free them when a "civil state" sees the day in Syria but also left the door open to negotiations for their release, Al-Jazeera television reported.
The abductors’ statement was accompanied by a video of the 11 men aired on the Qatar-based channel.
On June 1, al-Jazeera quoted a previously unknown armed group, the "Syrian Revolutionaries -- Aleppo Province", as saying they were holding the Lebanese pilgrims who went missing on May 22.
In both videos aired by al-Jazeera, the abductors have demanded an apology from Nasrallah. But no mention has been made on a ransom.