Mashnouq to Discuss with Hariri Latest Developments Linked to Abducted Soldiers

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Interior Minister Nouhad al-Mashnouq traveled to France on Wednesday where he is scheduled to hold talks with head of the Mustaqbal Movement MP Saad Hariri, reported al-Joumhouria newspaper on Thursday.

It said that the meeting will discuss the latest developments linked to the case of soldiers and policemen abducted by Islamists, who overran the northeastern town of Arsal in August.

The daily denied claims that new mediation channels will be opened with the kidnappers, explaining instead that the negotiations will take place through the “known channels.”

“Any new course will harm the current efforts,” it added.

Mashnouq revealed that the security meeting that was held on Tuesday at the Defense Ministry tackled “all options to release the Lebanese hostages held in Arsal’s outskirts.”

“A swap is among the options. It will take place through the rules that bind this procedure,” he said.

“Any claims to the contrary are not true,” said the minister.

He reassured the families of the executed captives that “their blood will not go to waste.”

“Their suffering should motivate us to exert more efforts to resolve this tragedy through the available means,” he remarked.

“Even if they may take some time, the local and international efforts to set free the hostages will yield the results we aspire for, which is to see the captives released safe and sound,” Mashnouq stated.

The soldiers and policemen were abducted in Arsal in August in the wake of clashes between the military and Islamists from the Islamic State and al-Qaida-affiliated al-Nusra Front.

Three of the hostages have been killed and the militants warned they would kill more if the Lebanese authorities failed to meet their demands.

The families of the captives have resorted to blocking roads in various Lebanese regions to pressure the authorities to exert more efforts to ensure the safe release of their loves ones

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