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President Biden pledges to Marc and Debra Tice journalist Austin Tice that he will work relentlessly

President Joe Biden met Monday with the parents of American journalist Austin Tice, who was abducted in Syria nearly 10 years ago, the White House said.

‘During their meeting, the President reiterated his commitment to continue to work through all available avenues to secure Austin’s long overdue return to his family,’ White House press secretary Jen Psaki said in a statement summarizing the meeting with Marc and Debra Tice.

She described the encounter as an outgrowth of ‘multiple meetings and conversations’ between the Tice family and White House national security officials.

President Joe Biden met Marc (L) and Debra Tice, the parents of US journalist Austin Tice on Monday. They are seen holding portraits of him during a press conference in 2017

Austin Tice's current whereabouts and health status remain unclear. It's been nearly ten years since he was last seen after going missing in Syria in 2012

Austin Tice’s current whereabouts and health status remain unclear. It’s been nearly ten years since he was last seen after going missing in Syria in 2012

Debra Tice was introduced Saturday night as being in attendance at the White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner, where Biden paid tribute in his remarks to journalists who are killed, injured, detained or go missing while covering conflicts.

Biden also said at the event that he wanted to meet with the Tices to speak about their son.

During Saturday night’s event, WHCA president Steve Portnoy of CBC News asked Debra Tice to stand and paid tribute to her son, a freelance reporter who worked for CBS, The Washington Post, and McClatchy. He was kidnapped in Syria on August 14, 2012. 

‘All over the world, journalists are subjected to jailing and intimidation for the use of pen pad camera and keyboard. They’ve been tortured, murdered, kidnapped, and we must never forget, Portnoy said.

Halfway through his speech on Saturday night, Biden said to Debra Tice: 'Mom, I'd like to meet you and Dad to talk about your son'

Halfway through his speech on Saturday night, Biden said to Debra Tice: ‘Mom, I’d like to meet you and Dad to talk about your son’

Marc and Debra Tice, the parents of US journalist Austin Tice, who was abducted in Syria almost ten years ago are pictured together in 2018

Marc and Debra Tice, the parents of US journalist Austin Tice, who was abducted in Syria almost ten years ago are pictured together in 2018

Speaking of Austin Tice, Portnoy said: ‘He should be here with us tonight. But he’s been held captive in Syria since 2012. As we take note of Trevor Reed’s return our thoughts tonight are with Austin Tice.’

Biden, who also spoke at the event then said he would like to meet with her. 

Halfway through his speech, Biden said to Debra: ‘Mom, I’d like to meet you and Dad to talk about your son.’ 

‘After the president made those comments, obviously we went into action to work to set up the meeting,’ Psaki said Monday, adding that the White House has ‘been very closely engaged with the family.’

‘Today’s meeting built on multiple meetings and conversations between the Tice family and the President’s national security team, which will remain in regular contact with the Tices and other families of Americans held hostage or wrongfully detained abroad.

Debra Tice appeared at White House Correspondent's Association dinner on Saturday (above)

Debra Tice appeared at White House Correspondent’s Association dinner on Saturday (above) 

President Biden reiterated his commitment to continue to work through all available avenues to secure Austin Tice's long overdue return to his family

President Biden reiterated his commitment to continue to work through all available avenues to secure Austin Tice’s long overdue return to his family 

‘We appreciate the bravery and candor of families enduring these harrowing experiences, and we remain committed to supporting them and, most importantly, reuniting them with their loved ones,’ she said in a statement.

Tice, a freelance journalist who is from Houston disappeared in August 2012 at a checkpoint in a contested area west of Damascus.

A video released weeks later showed him blindfolded and held by armed men and saying, ‘Oh, Jesus.’ 

Only one video showing him alive and he has not been heard from since. Syria has never acknowledged holding him.

In the final months of the Trump administration, two U.S. officials – including the government’s top hostage negotiator, Roger Carstens – made a secret visit to Damascus to seek information on Tice and other Americans who have disappeared in Syria. 

It was the highest-level talk in years between the U.S. and the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad, though Syrian officials offered no meaningful information on Tice.

Marc and Debra Tice have pleaded with the Biden administration to help their son. They are pictured in an interview last August when their son would have turned 40

Marc and Debra Tice have pleaded with the Biden administration to help their son. They are pictured in an interview last August when their son would have turned 40

At the time, Syrian officials told CBS News  that the Syrian government said no discussion could take place about U.S. hostages as long as U.S. military forces remained in Syria. Roughly 900 U.S. troops are in Syria. 

Psaki told reporters earlier in the day that there had been multiple meetings between members of the Tice family and administration officials in the last six months, including one last week.

Debra Tice had previously been critical of her lack of direct White House access, saying at a National Press Club event last December that she had not been able to get a meeting with Biden since he became president and that he had never said Austin’s name publicly.

Biden's meeting with Marc and Debra Tice took place at the White House on Monday. The couple are pictured during a press conference in December 2018

Biden’s meeting with Marc and Debra Tice took place at the White House on Monday. The couple are pictured during a press conference in December 2018

‘The hurdle I’m having is the White House,’ she said then, adding, ‘I wonder if he’s allowed himself to forget about Austin. I don’t have any indication otherwise.’

The Biden administration called on Syria to return Tice last year.

‘We believe that it is within Bashar al-Assad’s power to free Austin,’ Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement in August marking Tice’s 40th birthday.

Last week, the U.S. secured the release of Trevor Reed, a U.S. Marine veteran detained in Russia for nearly three years, as part of a prisoner swap. 

Relatives of Reed and other detained Americans are holding a news conference near the White House on Wednesday to advocate for their loved ones’ release.

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Read more at DailyMail.co.uk