Lebanese PM sues American University of Beirut over exit package

Lebanese Prime Minister Hassan Diab is suing the American University of Beirut (AUB), where he worked for 35 years as an academic. (Reuters)
Short Url
Updated 10 July 2020

Lebanese PM sues American University of Beirut over exit package

  • AUB, which has been hit hard by Lebanon's economic meltdown, declined to comment on the case

BEIRUT: Lebanese Prime Minister Hassan Diab is suing the American University of Beirut (AUB), where he worked for 35 years as an academic, a spokesman for Diab said, in a dispute over his exit package from the financially struggling institution.
AUB, which has been hit hard by Lebanon's economic meltdown, declined to comment on the case.
Lebanon is grappling with a crisis caused by decades of state corruption and bad governance. A hard currency liquidity crunch has led to an 80% weakening of the local currency since October.
Diab presented his-long planned resignation in January - the month he became prime minister.
"... He asked for an exit package in line with common practices and precedents at AUB. This request was denied ...," the spokesman said.
Diab had "never made any special request for any payments to be made either in foreign currency or into foreign bank accounts. All AUB professors have their pensions paid in U.S. dollars, from a AUB foreign account", the spokesman said.
"What the PM expressed was only what was already stated in the AUB retirement plan regulations and policies."
The private AUB, founded in the 1860s, is alma mater of some of the Arab world's leading figures in politics, medicine, law, science and art. Its president told Reuters in May Lebanon's catastrophic collapse represented one of the biggest challenges in the history of a university which has weathered many crises, including Lebanon’s 1975-1990 civil war.
The state, which defaulted on its foreign currency debt in March, owes AUB’s medical centre - which attracts patients from across the Middle East and Central Asia - more than $150 million in arrears, AUB President Fadlo Khuri said.


Trump wrote to Assad about journalist missing in Syria, says Pompeo

In this file photo taken on December 04, 2018, Marc and Debra Tice, the parents of US journalist Austin Tice (portrait L), who was abducted in Syria more than six years ago, speak at a press conference in Beirut. (AFP)
Updated 15 August 2020

Trump wrote to Assad about journalist missing in Syria, says Pompeo

  • In 2018, US authorities announced a $1 million reward for information that would lead to his recovery

WASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump personally wrote to his Syrian counterpart Bashar Assad about the case of journalist Austin Tice, who has been missing since 2012, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Friday.
“The US government has repeatedly attempted to engage Syrian officials to seek Austin’s release,” Pompeo said in a statement on the eighth anniversary of Tice’s disappearance.
“President Trump wrote to Bashar Assad in March to propose direct dialogue.”
Tice was a freelance photojournalist working for Agence France-Presse, McClatchy News, The Washington Post, CBS and other news organizations when he disappeared after being detained at a checkpoint near Damascus on Aug. 14, 2012.
Thirty-one years old at the time he was captured, Tice appeared blindfolded in the custody of an unidentified group of armed men in a video a month later.
Since then, there has been no official information on whether he is alive or dead.
In March, Trump said the United States had written a letter to authorities in Damascus, without specifying that he himself had written personally to Assad, who Washington wants out of power. At that time, Trump said he did not know if Tice was still alive.

HIGHLIGHT

Tice was a freelance photojournalist working for Agence France-Presse, McClatchy News, The Washington Post, CBS and other news organizations when he disappeared after being detained at a checkpoint near Damascus on Aug. 14, 2012.

“No one should doubt the president’s commitment to bringing home all US citizens held hostage or wrongfully detained overseas,” Pompeo said Friday.
“Nowhere is that determination stronger than in Austin Tice’s case.”
Pompeo said he and Trump hoped there would be “no need for another statement like this a year from now.”
“Austin Tice’s release and return home are long, long overdue. We will do our utmost to achieve that goal,” he added.
A year ago, the US government said it believed Tice was still alive.
His mother Debra Tice said in January that she had “credible information” to that effect, without elaborating.
In 2018, US authorities announced a $1 million reward for information that would lead to his recovery.