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Home for Christmas? Hostage Terry Anderson, Chief Middle East Correspondent for Associated Press, Spends Another Birthday in Captivity

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Home for Christmas? Hostage Terry Anderson, Chief Middle East Correspondent for Associated Press, Spends Another Birthday in Captivity

Article excerpt

Home by Christmas?

Hostage Terry Anderson, chief Middle East correspondent for Associated Press, spends another birthday in captivity

Hostage Terry Anderson could be home by Christmas, thanks to the efforts of the United Nations, Anderson's sister predicted during an observance of his 44th birthday, his seventh in captivity.

Peggy Say flew to New York to meet Oct. 28 with U.N. Secretary-General Javier Perez de Cuellar and thank him for trying to free her brother, the longest-held Western hostage in the Middle East.

"I really believe we are looking at the end of this," Say said Oct. 27 after a special service at her hometown church on Anderson's birthday.

"I fully expect to spend Christmas this year with Terry Anderson. I've probably felt this optimistic before, but never with good reason. Today I have good reason."

Say said she was encouraged that Anderson's captors said they were willing to negotiate with the United Nations. She praised U.S.-led efforts that resulted in Middle East peace talks scheduled to begin Oct. 30 in Madrid.

Intense U.N.-led negotiations to mediate a swap of Western captives for Arabs held by Israel have led to freedom for four Westerners since August.

Eight other Westerners -- including four Americans -- remain held. American Jesse Turner was the latest released.

Anderson, the chief Middle East correspondent of the Associated Press, was abducted March 16, 1985, in Beirut. Islamic Jihad, a pro-Iranian Shiite Muslim fundamentalist underground faction, claims it holds Anderson, American educator Thomas Sutherland and Anglican church envoy Terry Waite.

Anderson's friends and colleagues in Beirut had birthday cake in his honor.

"I'm more hopeful than any time before that this is his last birthday in captivity," said Farouk Nassar, chief of the AP bureau in Beirut. …

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