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Hostage Negotiator Speaks to Weber State Crowd

Hostage Negotiator Speaks to Weber State Crowd

Posted - Jan. 15, 2004 at 12:10 p.m.



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Sandra Yi ReportingBritish hostage negotiator Terry Waite says getting to the root of a problem is important in resolving conflict. He spoke to a crowd this morning, at Weber State University.

Terry Waite says international relations is a 'moral mess'.

Terry Waite: "It is a mess, an absolute mess, and that mess has not improved one iota."

Waite addressed a crowd at Weber State University. He called for peaceful resolutions to conflict.

Terry Waite: "And what we have to do in these situations is somehow clear the ground and begin to examine why it is that people are behaving as they are behaving."

That was part of his strategy as a hostage negotiator. He always followed three guidelines in his dealings with hostage takers: face to face contact, building trust, and working toward a peaceful resolution.

In the 1980s Waite successfully negotiated the release of hostages in Iran and Libya. But in 1987 he became a hostage himself while negotiating for the release of hostages, including Americans Terry Anderson and Tom Sutherland, in Lebanon.

Waite says his captors interrogated him about his knowledge of the Iran-Contra affair. He spent four years in solitary confinement.

Terry Waite: "And as I saw my physical body disintegrate, I really did wonder if I would begin to disintegrate mentally and spiritually."

Waite was released in 1991. He says, resolving problems without violence is important, especially in the war on terrorism.

Terry Waite: "We may in some ways think we're winning the war, but the cost is high. The cost is very, very high indeed."

He says when we get to the root of a problem we can then move forward in a more peaceful world.

Waite recounted his experiences as a hostage in the bestselling book, 'Taken on Trust'. He says he wrote some of it in his mind, while captive.

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