Biden will meet with parents of US journalist abducted in Syria 10 years ago – The Guardian US

May 29, 2022
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Marc and Debra Tice are expected to meet with the president at the White House to speak about their son, Austin Tice
Joe Biden said he was meeting on Monday with the parents of American journalist Austin Tice, who was abducted in Syria 10 years ago.
The meeting with Marc and Debra Tice was expected to take place at the White House.
Debra Tice was introduced in front of all those gathered last Saturday night at the White House Correspondents’ Association annual dinner, in Washington DC, where she was in attendance and where the US president paid tribute in his remarks to journalists who are missing or detained, as well as those killed covering conflict.
Biden also said at the event that he wanted to meet with the Tices to speak about their son.
“After the president made those comments, obviously we went into action to work to set up the meeting,” the White House press secretary, Jen Psaki, said on Monday, adding that the White House has “been very closely engaged with the family”.
Tice, who is from Houston and whose work had been published by the Washington Post, the McClatchy newspaper group’s publications and other outlets, disappeared in August 2012 at a checkpoint in a contested area west of Damascus.
A video released weeks later showed him blindfolded and held by armed men and saying, “Oh, Jesus.” He has not been heard from since. Syria has never acknowledged holding him.
In the final months of the Trump administration, two US officials – including the government’s top hostage negotiator, Roger Carstens – made a secret visit to Damascus to seek information on Tice and other Americans who have disappeared in Syria.
It was the highest-level meeting in years between the US and the government of Syrian president Bashar al-Assad, although Syrian officials offered no meaningful information on Tice.
Psaki said there have been three meetings between members of the Tice family and administration officials since December, when Debra met with Jake Sullivan, Biden’s national security adviser. The most recent one was last week.
Debra Tice has previously been critical of her lack of direct White House access, saying at a National Press Club event last December that she had never met with Biden since he became president and that “he has never said Austin’s name publicly”.
Last week, the US secured the release of Trevor Reed, a US marine veteran detained in Russia for nearly three years, as part of a prisoner swap.

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