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Syria Will Leave Lebanon By April 30, U.N. Envoy Says

Associated Press
Monday, April 4, 2005; Page A16

DAMASCUS, Syria, April 3 -- Syria plans to pull all its troops and intelligence agents from Lebanon by April 30, and a U.N. team could be dispatched to verify the withdrawal, a U.N. envoy said Sunday after meeting Syrian President Bashar Assad.

The withdrawal will mark the end of Syria's 29-year military presence in Lebanon and will comply with the demands of a U.N. resolution.

U.N. envoy Terje Roed-Larsen said Syrian Foreign Minister Farouk Sharaa had informed him "all Syrian troops, military assets and the intelligence apparatus will have been withdrawn fully and completely" by April 30, at the latest.

Roed-Larsen said the Syrian commitment implies all its security forces will be withdrawn in line with the 1989 Taif Agreement, which paved the way for the end of the Lebanese civil war, and U.N. Resolution 1559, which was passed in September. The resolution called for Syria to withdraw its troops and stop interference in Lebanon.

U.S. State Department spokesman Lou Fintor said the United States was aware of the latest reports from Syria but had no reaction beyond reiterating the long-held position that there needs to be a full withdrawal of all Syrian military and intelligence forces.


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