Diplomacy : Mr. Behind-the-Scenes

How a courageous United Nations negotiator put himself at risk to broker the hostage deal

Giandomenico Picco would have been justified if he had tried to grab some of the limelight that fell on Terry Anderson and his fellow liberated hostages as they emerged into freedom. Instead, the tall, dapper mediator stood in the background, saying nothing about the key role he had played in securing the captives' release. As the point man of U.N. Secretary-General Javier Perez de Cuellar's seven-month campaign to resolve the hostage crisis, Picco had engaged in a series of daunting covert missions to Shi'ite strongholds in Lebanon to bargain with the captors. At times he disappeared from sight for days on...

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