Terry Waite, Lebanon, 1991Terry Waite, Beirut, Archbishop of Canterbury
FORMER Beirut hostage Terry Waite returned to the Lebanese capital for the first time since his release 12 years ago.But he showed no signs of nervousness about returning to the city from which he was kidnapped in 1987.A beaming Waite, 64, said: 'I'm very glad to be back.'Waite was one of dozens of foreigners kidnapped in Lebanon in the 1980s by pro-Iran Shia Moslem militant groups.He was a special envoy of the Archbishop of Canterbury when he was taken hostage ironically while trying to negotiate the release of other Western hostages, such as British journalist John McCarthy and Irish teacher Brian Keenan.Waite was released in September 1991 after 1760 days in captivity.He returned to Beirut on behalf of Y Care International, the YMCA's development agency, which he helped found 20 years ago.He described his visit as a fact-finding trip to see what is being done and to bring a little support to the people who were doing the work.Waite said he had no particular concerns about being back in Lebanon and would not mind meeting his former captors.He said: 'I'm sure that they have changed. They have grown and developed just as much as I have.'But he said he was not making any attempts to arrange such a meeting.Of his years in captivity, Waite said: 'They were difficult years and they were years of suffering.'But one always has to remember this that my suffering doesn't compare much to what other people have gone through.'He said he held no grudges against anyone.Waite added: 'What you have to do in life is not look back on old grievances but look forward positively.Later, crammed in the airport lift with a crowd of jostling journalists, he joked: 'I didn't expect to be taken captive again so soon'.As president of Y Care, Waite plans to visit Palestinian refugee camps in northern Lebanon today.He is scheduled to hold a press conference and will leave to visit rehabilitation and training centres for youths in east Jerusalem tomorrow. He also hopes to visit the Gaza Strip.McCarthy returned to Lebanon last month for the first time since his release in 1991Terry Waite seenn here in a bombeed out building on the green line - he was held hostage in the area for 5 yrs
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