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Turkey must work more toward hostage release: Sleiman
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President Michel Sleiman urged Ankara Wednesday to multiply efforts to secure the release of the nine Lebanese hostages held in Syria.

Sleiman’s comments were made following talks with visiting Turkish Transportation Minister Binali Yildirim.

A statement from Baabda Palace said Sleiman “called on Turkey to exert more pressure toward [facilitating] the release of the kidnapped Lebanese” in Syria.

“Such pressure will improve ties between the two countries and strengthens relations in various field,” the statement added.

Sleiman thanked Ankara’s contribution to U.N. peacekeepers in south Lebanon.

For his part, Yildirim promised to convey Sleiman’s request to Turkish officials.

He expressed hope that Lebanon and Turkey would “maintain and increase this level of cooperation.”

Yildirim, who headed a Turkish delegation in Beirut Wednesday, will hold talks with other Lebanese officials.

Twelve Lebanese men were snatched in Aleppo as they returned home from pilgrimage in Iran last May.

Syrian rebels released two of them late last year, but nine remain in captivity.


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