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UN Envoy To Visit Beirut And Damascus For Talks

Middle East: UN Envoy To Visit Beirut And Damascus For Talks

United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan is dispatching a senior envoy to the Middle East for talks on the withdrawal of Syrian forces from Lebanon, a spokesman for the world body announced today.

Special envoy Terje Roed-Larsen will travel to Beirut and Damascus this week "to discuss with Lebanese and Syrian officials the full, complete and immediate implementation of Security Council resolution 1559," a spokesman for Mr. Annan said in a statement released in New York.

The resolution, adopted last September, calls for a pullout of all foreign forces from Lebanon as well as an end to all militias and the extension of government control over the whole country. Syrian troops have been in Lebanon since the early stages of the 1975-1990 civil war.

In the press statement, UN spokesman Fred Eckhard also said the Secretary-General "took note of the speech delivered today in Damascus by the Syrian President Dr. Bashar Al Assad and will study it carefully."

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