AMSTERDAM -- A leading member of a foundation seeking to preserve the tree on which Anne Frank gazed as she hid from Nazi occupation was upbeat Thursday about the chances of saving the chestnut from the axe.
Earlier this week the city of Amsterdam announced it was upholding a license to fell the tree but agreed to first hold talks with protesters who want to preserve what they view as an important monument.
"We are taking part is this mediation and it looks like most differences are being solved. I think it will turn out alright," Arnold Heertje, an eminent Dutch economist and member of the Support Anne Frank Tree Foundation, told Agence France-Presse.
The 150-year-old tree stands in the garden of a canal house on Amsterdam's Keizersgracht and is overlooked by the annex the Frank family hid in during World War II, which is now a museum.
Anne Frank wrote in her diary on February 23, 1944: "The two of us looked out at the blue sky, the bare chestnut tree glistening with dew, the seagulls and other birds glinting with silver as they swooped through the air."
"We were so moved and entranced that we couldn't speak."
There are fears that the trunk, which has a severe mould infection, could break and cause the tree to fall on the Anne Frank house and other surrounding buildings.
The Support Anne Frank Tree Foundation together with the Dutch Tree Foundation want to bolster the trunk with steel beams.
The construction, which has an estimated cost of 50,000 euros ($70,000) and would cost an additional 10,000 euros a year to maintain, would keep the tree will upright and allow it to live on for up to 15 more years.
Heertje was positive the outcome of the talks with the city and the tree's owner would support the preservation plan. The outcome of the mediation could be announced in the next few weeks, he added.