The Syrian government on Wednesday denied holding US journalist Austin Tice, who went missing a decade ago near the capital city Damascus.
Last week, US President Joe Biden said he was certain that the Syrian government was holding journalist Tice.
The Syrian Foreign Ministry in a statement carried by the state news agency SANA, denied Biden’s accusations and called it “baseless allegations”. The statement furthered that the “Syrian Arab Republic” not only denies that it has kidnapped or forcibly disappeared any American citizen who entered its territory, but reaffirms commitment to the principles of international law and the provisions of Vienna Convention on Consular Relations.
The ministry also accused the US of violating consular and diplomatic relations by encouraging US citizens to enter Syria without legal permission.
“Damascus only accepts official dialogue or communication with the US which is respecting the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of Syria,” the statement added.
US State Department Spokesman Ned Price told reporters on Tuesday that the US will continue efforts to push Syria to return Tice and every other American.
Price said that Syria has never admitted holding Tice, but said that Washington will use every avenue to secure his safe return.
A former Marine, Tice was a freelance photojournalist working for several news agencies who disappeared on August 14 2012 after being detained at a checkpoint near Damascus.
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