US embassy cable - 93ROME18848

POSSIBLE RELEASE OF U.S. HOSTAGE HELD BY PKK

Identifier: 93ROME18848
Wikileaks: View 93ROME18848 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Embassy Rome
Created: 1993-10-29 12:27:00
Classification: CONFIDENTIAL
Tags: PREL VAT TU NZ US
Redacted: This cable was not redacted by Wikileaks.
O 291227Z OCT 93
FM AMEMBASSY ROME
TO SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 8873
INFO AMEMBASSY WELLINGTON IMMEDIATE
AMEMBASSY ANKARA IMMEDIATE
C O N F I D E N T I A L ROME 018848 
 
 
DEPARTMENT ALSO FOR EUR/SE, S/CT, CA/OCS 
 
FROM EMBASSY VATICAN/MESSAGE NO. 569/93 
 
E.O. 12356: DECL: OADR 
TAGS:  PREL, VAT, TU, NZ, US 
SUBJECT:  POSSIBLE RELEASE OF U.S. HOSTAGE HELD BY PKK 
 
1.  CONFIDENTIAL - ENTIRE TEXT. 
 
2.  SUMMARY: THE PKK HAS TOLD A ROME-BASED VOLUNTARY 
ORGANIZATION, THE SANT'EGIDIO SOCIETY, THAT IT IS 
WILLING TO RELEASE A U.S. HOSTAGE TO A SANT'EGIDIO 
REPRESENTATIVE ACCOMPANIED BY A U.S. OFFICIAL. 
SANT'EGIDIO HAS PREVIOUSLY BEEN INSTRUMENTAL IN SECURING 
RELEASE OF FOREIGNERS HELD BY THE PKK.  THIS MESSAGE 
REQUESTS GUIDANCE.  END SUMMARY. 
 
3.  ON 28 OCTOBER A CONTACT AT ROME'S SANT'EGIDIO 
SOCIETY TOLD EMBASSY VATICAN DCM THAT THE TOP LEADERSHIP 
OF THE PKK HAD EXPRESSED WILLINGNESS TO RELEASE A U.S. 
HOSTAGE BEING HELD BY THE PKK.  HE DESCRIBED THE 
INDIVIDUAL AS A MR. STARGER, AN ENGLISH TEACHER WHO HAD 
BEEN WORKING IN ISTANBUL.  STARGER WAS BEING HELD IN A 
GROUP THAT INCLUDED A COLLEAGUE OF HIS FROM NEW ZEALAND 
AND AN UNIDENTIFIED DUTCHMAN. 
 
4.  THE PKK OFFER HAD BEEN MADE TO ANDREA RICCARDI, HEAD 
OF THE SANT'EGIDIO SOCIETY, DURING A CONVERSATION THE 
PREVIOUS WEEK IN DAMASCUS.  THE PKK SAID THEY WOULD 
RELEASE STARGER, AND PRESUMABLY THE OTHER TWO HOSTAGES, 
TO AN EMISSARY OF SANT'EGIDIO AND A U.S. OFFICIAL. 
RICCARDI ASKED IF THE RELEASE COULD BE DONE IN LEBANON 
OR SYRIA, BUT PKK INSISTED THAT THEY ONLY FELT SAFE 
OFFERING THE RELEASE IN TURKEY. 
 
5.  NOTE: SANT'EGIDIO IS A ROME BASED VOLUNTARY 
ORGANIZATION WELL-KNOWN TO THE U.S. GOVERNMENT. 
RICCARDI WAS ONE OF THE MEDIATORS IN THE PEACE PROCESS 
LEADING TO THE END OF THE MOZAMBICAN CIVIL WAR.  ANOTHER 
OF THE MEDIATORS, DON MATTEO ZUPPI, WAS SENT TO EASTERN 
TURKEY IN SEPTEMBER TO RECEIVE THE RELEASE OF AN EARLIER 
GROUP OF HOSTAGES (SEVERAL ITALIANS, A NEW ZEALANDER, 
AND A GERMAN).  END NOTE. 
 
6.  DCM ASKED IF SANT'EGIDIO HAD BEEN IN TOUCH WITH 
ANYONE ELSE ON THIS OFFER.  THE NEW ZEALAND AMBASSADOR 
IN ROME, PETER BENNETT, HAD BEEN INFORMED OF THE PKK 
MESSAGE AND WAS SEEKING INSTRUCTIONS FROM WELLINGTON. 
DCM ASKED WHETHER THE PKK HAD MADE ANY COMMENT ON THE 
LEVEL OF REPRESENTATIVE TO WHOM THEY WOULD RELEASE 
STARGER, WHETHER A NON-OFFICIAL AMERICAN MIGHT SUFFICE, 
OR WHETHER IT MIGHT BE POSSIBLE TO SECURE RELEASE SIMPLY 
TO A SANT'EGIDIO REPRESENTATIVE.  CONTACT SAID THERE HAD 
BEEN NO DISCUSSION ON THIS POINT, BUT HE JUDGED THAT A 
REPRESENTATIVE AT LESS THAN AMBASSADORIAL LEVEL WOULD 
SUFFICE.  HE DID NOT KNOW IF THE PRESENCE OF AN AMERICAN 
REPRESENTATIVE WOULD BE ESSENTIAL. 
 
7.  DCM SAID HE WOULD REPORT THIS INFORMATION TO 
WASHINGTON AND SEEK GUIDANCE.  HE CAUTIONED THAT 
WASHINGTON WOULD SCRUTINIZE ANY RELEASE SCENARIO 
RIGOROUSLY TO AVOID CONFLICT WITH STRONG U.S. POLICY ON 
TERRORISM. 
 
8.  DCM SPOKE WITH NEW ZEALAND AMBASSADOR BENNETT EARLY 
29 OCTOBER.  BENNETT CONFIRMED HIS CONTACT WITH 
SANT'EGIDIO.  HE SAID THAT THE SEPTEMBER HOSTAGE RELEASE 
BY THE PKK HAD NOT INCLUDED AN OFFICIAL PRESENCE, BUT 
THERE HAD BEEN MUCH PUBLICITY ON ITALIAN AND GERMAN 
TELEVISION.  BENNETT, WHO EXPRESSED A KEEN DESIRE TO 
STAY IN TOUCH ON DEVELOPMENTS, SAID U.S. AND NEW ZEALAND 
AUTHORITIES IN ANKARA WERE IN CONTACT ON THIS ISSUE. 
 
FLYNN 

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