Even while proclaiming the government's defiance of the kidnapers, the premier said that France has never refused to open discussions on the issue with "those of good faith." Earlier in the day, the government sent a special envoy, Dr. Razah Raad, a Lebanese-born, French physician, to Damascus. It was believed that Raad will travel on to the Syrian-controlled Bekaa Valley of Lebanon to try to make contact with the kidnapers. Islamic Jihad, in its statement on the latest kidnaping, named Raad, with whom it has met twice before, as an acceptable negotiator.
The dissidents, like Islamic Jihad, had close ties to the Iranian government. One of the Iraqi dissidents was reported to have been killed by the Iraqi government soon after he came off the plane in Baghdad.
Le Monde reported that the government released the two after the Abu Nidal group fulfilled a promise made in 1982 to refrain from any terrorist attacks on French soil. While their case was not directly linked to the case of the kidnaped hostages in Beirut, it was assumed that France wanted to send a signal to Beirut that the kidnapers could deal with the French government.