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Sally Faulkner to reveal story behind botched child recovery attempt in Lebanon

Sally Faulkner recalls the moment her ex-husband, Ali Elamine, broke his promise to return their children to Australia after a holiday in Lebanon. Photo: Australian StoryBrisbane mother Sally Faulkner has described the moment she found out her children were not coming back to Brisbane after what was meant to be a two-week holiday in Lebanon with their father.
Nanjing Night Net

It was a moment that would eventually lead to the botched attempt to recover her children with a 60 Minutes crew in tow, which captured the attention of both nations.

Reported as a kidnapping by Lebanese media outlets and a botched recovery attempt by Australian media outlets, it started after a Skype call between Ms Faulkner and the children’s father Ali Elamine.

“When he answered the Skype call, I could just see his face and I said to him ‘what’s wrong’ and he looked at me and he said ‘plans have changed’ and that’s when every part of me just wanted to fall apart,” Ms Faulkner said

“I said ‘what do you mean?’ I didn’t quite believe it and he said ‘plans have changed Sal, the kids aren’t coming home'”

It was the recovery attempt that saw Channel Nine’s 60 minutes crew, including presenter Tara Brown, detained in Lebanon.

Today, seven months on, the children remain in Lebanon with their father, Ali Elamine, while Ms Faulkner has since penned a book All for My Children, due to be released in November.

In an interview with ABC’s Australian Story to air on Monday, Ms Faulkner says she signed an agreement prior to the children’s trip that had been written by Mr Elamine and which she anticipated would give the children the best outcome.

“We were able to co-parent, we sat down together and did a parenting agreement, just written on paper signed and dated about what we expected and the kind of things we wanted from each other in terms of the children,” Mrs Faulkner said.

“We were making the best of what we could given we lived in two different countries.”

An excerpt of the informal agreement written by Mr Elamine reads: “I also expect our children to maintain a healthy relationship with the Australian side of the family as well as their Lebanese one by visiting my parents and their uncles and cousins once a year.”

The interview also sees Ms Faulkner detail the few months in the lead up to the ‘child recovery attempt’.

“Ali, he said to me ‘is it possible I take them back to my family to spend some time, just as a holiday’,”  she said.

“And so I drove them to the airport, I thought this is great, the kids are going to have the best of both worlds.

“They’re going to have Lebanon, they’re going to know that culture, I thought we were on the same page, we’re on a good thing, we we’re able to co-parent.

“I said to him, I said ‘Ali promise me, look me in the eye and promise me that you will bring them back…  he said we’ll see you in two weeks.

“Then he put his arms out and give me a hug and goes ‘you’re a good mum Sal, you’re a good mum’ he goes ‘they’ll be all right with me’ and then I said ‘I trust you’.”

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This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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