Iran Calls for End to Hostage Affair

IRANIAN Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Velayati Sunday called for all parties involved in the Middle East hostage drama to cooperate with United Nations Secretary General Javier Perez de Cuellar to bring the affair to an end.Tehran radio reported that Mr. Velayati made his remarks during talks with visiting Lebanese Foreign Minister Faris Bouez. "On the hostage problem we are the first victims ... and we hope that the efforts of the UN secretary general help a conclusive solution to the problem to be reached," Tehran radio quoted Velayati as saying. Mr. Perez de Cuellar left Iran Friday after intensive talks with Iranian officials on ways of solving the hostage crisis. The secretary general said after talks with Velayati that he got good results from his efforts to arrange a deal for freedom of Middle East captives, including up to 10 Western hostages held in Lebanon. On Saturday, a pro-Iranian cleric in Lebanon said a British hostage would be freed within 48 hours. Earlier, the English-language Tehran Times newspaper, which correctly predicted past hostage releases, said it expected one or two Westerners to be freed soon. The newspaper, close to the Iranian Foreign Ministry, called on Israel to release more Arab captives to maintain goodwill. Pro-Iranian kidnappers say they will free the Westerners if Israel releases about 300 Arabs held by Israel and its client militia at Khiam prison camp in south Lebanon.

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