Relatives of the kidnapped soldiers and policemen burn tires near the Grand Serail in Beirut, Monday, Dec. 15, 2014. (The Daily Star/Hasan Shaaban)
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BEIRUT: Lebanon's political parties seem to agree on one point concerning the hostage crisis: that the government should, in principle, engage in talks to free 25 servicemen being held by the Nusra Front and ISIS.Interior Minister Nouhad Machnouk has said that there is consensus that General Security chief Maj. Gen. Abbas Ibrahim should lead talks, having had previous successes in negotiations to free the Azaz hostages and the Maaloula nuns.However, when contacted by The Daily Star, Hezbollah MP Mohammad Fneish said the party's position remained unaltered from a speech delivered by its leader Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah in September, giving no details on wether his group supported a swap deal.Reiterating comments made by Speaker Nabih Berri, MP Qassem Hashem, from Berri's bloc, said that the negotiation dossier should be handled exclusively by one group. Hashem said he favored placing the hostage file in the hands of security forces rather than politicians. Alain Aoun said the FPM was not in a "front line" position with respect to the hostage crisis.The Progressive Socialist Party of MP Walid Jumblatt has clamorously supported a swap deal and any other measures required to solve the crisis.
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