Sources: Charbel to Reveal Positive News on 11 Pilgrims after Briefing Suleiman, Miqatiإقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية
Sources close to Interior Minister Marwan Charbel said the minister returned from Ankara with “great optimism” that he would reveal soon on the fate of 11 Lebanese pilgrims kidnapped in Syria since May.
The sources told An Nahar daily published Sunday that a visit by Charbel and General Security chief Maj. Gen. Abbas Ibrahim to Turkey was “fruitful.”
He will reveal the positive news after briefing President Michel Suleiman, Prime Minister Najib Miqati and the members of the ministerial committee tasked with resolving the case on his talks with Turkish officials, the sources told the newspaper.
Charbel could travel to Ankara again in the coming days in his attempt to resolve the case of the 11 men, they said.
The minister’s press office said in a statement on Saturday: “We agreed on continuing the mutual efforts in another meeting, scheduled to be held soon, to follow up the case.”
The sources denied Turkish conditions for handing over two Turkish men kidnapped in Lebanon earlier in the week in return for news on the 11 pilgrims.
The talks between Charbel and Abbas and the Turkish officials did not deal with the issue of the abducted Turkish men, the sources said.
The fate of the pilgrims were unclear after media reports said several of them were killed in an airstrike by Syrian regime forces on Aazaz in the northern province of Aleppo where the men were abducted by armed rebels on May 22 while returning from a pilgrimage to Iran.
Following talks with Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, French FM Laurent Fabius informed Suleiman and Speaker Nabih Berri in a telephone conversation on Saturday that the 11 pilgrims are alive and doing well.