Copyright 1994 The Jerusalem Post
The Jerusalem Post
November 15, 1994
HEADLINE: FAMILIES OF MISSING SOLDIERS HOPE KLESTIL WILL BE KEY TO FINDING SONS
BYLINE: BATSHEVA TSUR
Families of the Israeli soldiers missing in action in Lebanon said last night that Austrian President Thomas Klestil might well be the person who helps them locate the whereabouts of their loved ones.
"Dr. Klestil has excellent ties with Iran and Syria and he could be the man to help us solve the problem," Yona Baumel, father of MIA Zacharya Baumel said last night. He was speaking to reporters after the Austrian president met with members of families of the five men who have been missing since 1982. Klestil also held a separate meeting with members of the family of navigator Ron Arad, before hosting a reception at the King David Hotel in Jerusalem.
Baumel said that Klestil had begun working on the issue already when he was deputy foreign minister and had continued over the years, holding several meetings with the MIAs' families.
"We have the utmost confidence in his integrity. He has proven to be instrumental, a good friend and a superb diplomat," Baumel said, adding that the Austrian head of state had worked discreetly behind the scenes.
Asked whether there was a possibility of a prisoner exchange in which the MIAs would be involved, Baumel said: "No comment."
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