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Lebanon’s General Security Chief in Washington to Discuss Release of US Hostage in Damascus

Lebanon’s General Security Chief in Washington to Discuss Release of US Hostage in Damascus

Friday, 16 October, 2020 - 09:30
FILE PHOTO: Major General Abbas Ibrahim, head of Lebanon's General Security agency is seen in Beirut, Lebanon May 23, 2018. REUTERS/Jamal Saidi

Lebanon’s Director General of General Security, Major General Abbas Ibrahim, arrived in Washington on Wednesday on a five-day visit to discuss US hostages in Damascus, sources quoting US officials told Asharq Al-Awsat.

The sources said that Ibrahim was expected to meet with a number of US officials, including Robert O’Brien, the National Security Adviser, who personally handles the cases of hostages. He might also meet with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to discuss the situation in Lebanon, the sources noted.

They added that Ibrahim’s arrival was expected after his successful role in the release of Sam Goodwin. The Foley Legacy Foundation, which works on cases of hostages, said that it would grant Ibrahim an award of appreciation after Goodwin’s release.

According to the sources, Ibrahim’s visit is that it also comes in the wake of his success in the release of American hostages in Yemen, after a tour he made to Gulf countries, especially his recent visit to Kuwait.

For this purpose, O’Brien will meet the Lebanese General Security chief to discuss the case of the US hostage in Damascus, Austin Tice. The sources noted that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad was expected to secure his release in exchange for the US restoring diplomatic relations with Damascus, opening the US embassy, and easing the sanctions imposed on the regime.

They added that Ibrahim’s role was well-known, especially after his success in the release of US-Lebanese citizen Nizar Zakka from Iran last year.

While the sources said that Ibrahim might try to market Damascus’ offer to open the US embassy in exchange for the release of Tice, they underlined Washington’s refusal to restore relations with Damascus or reduce sanctions against it, unless it adheres to the conditions of a peaceful solution.

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