Lebanon's leading newspaper reported Saturday that Anglican Church envoy Terry Waite and some other Westerners held hostage by pro-Iranian Shiite Moslem groups may be released this week.
An-Nahar, which has a record of accurate reporting on the captives, attributed its short report to informed sources but did not identify them.The paper indicated that the releases would follow visits to Syria and possibly to Lebanon by Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Velayati.
Velayati was to visit Damascus "in the next two days for consultations with the Syrian command" of President Hafez Assad and might travel to Beirut for talks with President Elias Hrawi, the report said.
"The release of a number of foreign hostages held in Lebanon, topped by Anglican Chrich envoy Terry Waite, is possible next week," the newspaper said Saturday.
It gave no further details. The one-paragraph reference to the hostages was part of the paper's main front-page story.
An-Nahar did not disclose the nationalities of the hostages to be released, beyond identifying Waite. But the report was the latest of several to indicate that foreign captives would be freed following renewed diplomatic ties between Britain and Iran.
Hussein Musawi, the Shiite mentor of some hostage-holding factions, said Sept. 29 that the four British hostages would benefit from the development.
Musawi said, however, that the six American captives were not expected to be released soon because of the U.S. military deployment in the Persian Gulf following Iraq's Aug. 2 invasion of Kuwait.