The United States confirmed, on Wednesday, that it is ready to deal with anyone who can help secure progress towards the release of American nationals, on the sidelines of the ongoing US-Syrian talks in the Sultanate of Oman.
Asked about the course of the talks, US State Department deputy spokesman Vedant Patel said, “We’re engaged extensively in trying to return Austin Tice to his family… We have followed every possible channel for us to seek his safe return to his family and we will continue to do so”.
Patel he stressed that this includes “discussing this issue with a number of countries in the region… We’ll continue to work on this until we see his safe return to the United States,” he added.
He added, “As President Joe Biden has said before as well as the Secretary of State, we will not stop our efforts until Austin Tice is found and brought home”.
Regarding reports that the talks with Syria deal with political and security issues, Patel said, “As I have stated before, the United States is ready to engage with anyone who can help secure progress toward the release of American citizens… In order to protect these different ways, I will not go into the details of the diplomatic discussions… but we are ready to talk to whoever we deem necessary to achieve this goal”.
At the same time, Patel stressed that the talks don’t mean a broader change in our relationship with Syria.
He also indicated that the US vision on resolving the Syrian crisis is in line with UN Security Council Resolution No. 2254.
Austin Tice, a freelance reporter and former US Marine, was kidnapped in August 2012 while covering the Syrian events in Damascus.
His family believes he is alive and still being held in Syria.
Tice’s fate is still unknown, and no party has claimed responsibility for his kidnapping, as Washington says that the Syrian government has held him in the past, which Damascus denies.