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Dialogue between Lebanon and Syria is ‘crucial’

UN envoy says dialogue between Lebanon and Syria is ‘crucial’

Stressing the need for immediate dialogue between Lebanon and Syria, a senior United Nations envoy has called for their common border to be demarcated and embassies to be set up “as soon as possible.”

Terje Roed-Larsen, Secretary-General Kofi Annan's Special Envoy for the implementation of Security Council 1559, which focuses on an end to foreign interference in Lebanon, arrived in Beirut last night for talks with Lebanese officials ahead of Mr. Annan’s third semi-annual report on the issue expected next month.

“I come at an important time in Lebanese history. For the first time, all Lebanese factions are sitting around one table, discussing subjects that had been taboo until only a few months ago, without any foreign participation or intervention,” he said on arrival, lauding the ongoing National Dialogue between Lebanese political forces.

“What is of crucial importance now is that there is a dialogue between Lebanon and Syria on the relevant issues. The common border should be demarcated, in accordance with the agreement reached at the Dialogue, and embassies should be established as soon as possible.”

Mr. Roed-Larsen praised Lebanese Speaker of Parliament Nabih Berri for initiating the National Dialogue, which began on 2 March, adding that there had been “very positive results to date.”

Positive developments include an agreement reached among all Lebanese parties that formal diplomatic relations should be established and the border be demarcated between Lebanon and Syria, and that Palestinian militias outside the refugee camps will be disarmed within a period of six months.

“Two issues that are also of relevance to the implementation of Security Council resolution 1559, the matter of presidential elections and that of the disarmament and disbanding of Lebanese militias, are still to be resolved,” he added.

Mr. Roed-Larsen, who has been on a whirlwind tour of the capitals of the permanent members of the Security Council and of a number of Arab states, will continue his talks in Beirut in the coming days.

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