WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden met Monday with the mother and father of American journalist Austin Tice, who was kidnapped in Syria practically 10 years in the past, the White Home stated.
“Throughout their assembly, the President reiterated his dedication to proceed to work by way of all obtainable avenues to safe Austin’s lengthy overdue return to his household,” White Home press secretary Jen Psaki stated in an announcement summarizing the assembly with Marc and Debra Tice.
She described the encounter as an outgrowth of “a number of conferences and conversations” between the Tice household and White Home nationwide safety officers.
Debra Tice was launched Saturday evening as being in attendance on the White Home Correspondents’ Affiliation Dinner, the place Biden paid tribute in his remarks to journalists who’re lacking or detained. Biden additionally stated on the occasion that he needed to satisfy with the Tices to talk about their son.
“After the president made these feedback, clearly we went into motion to work to arrange the assembly,” Psaki stated Monday, including that the White Home has “been very intently engaged with the household.”
Tice, who’s from Houston and whose work had been revealed by The Washington Put up, McClatchy newspapers and different shops, disappeared in August 2012 at a checkpoint in a contested space west of Damascus.
A video launched weeks later confirmed him blindfolded and held by armed males and saying, “Oh, Jesus.” He has not been heard from since. Syria has by no means acknowledged holding him.
Within the last months of the Trump administration, two U.S. officers — together with the federal government’s prime hostage negotiator, Roger Carstens — made a secret visit to Damascus to hunt info on Tice and different Individuals who’ve disappeared in Syria. It was the highest-level discuss in years between the U.S. and the federal government of Syrian President Bashar Assad, although Syrian officers provided no significant info on Tice.
Psaki advised reporters earlier within the day that there had been a number of conferences between members of the Tice household and administration officers within the final six months, together with one final week.
Debra Tice had beforehand been vital of her lack of direct White Home entry, saying at a Nationwide Press Membership occasion final December that she had not been in a position to get a gathering with Biden since he turned president and that he had by no means stated Austin’s title publicly.
“The hurdle I am having is the White Home,” she stated then, including, “I’m wondering if he is allowed himself to neglect about Austin. I haven’t got any indication in any other case.”
Final week, the U.S. secured the discharge of Trevor Reed, a U.S. Marine veteran detained in Russia for practically three years, as a part of a prisoner swap. Family members of Reed and different detained Individuals are holding a information convention close to the White Home on Wednesday to advocate for his or her family members’ launch.