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Further Progress In Lebanon Requires Cooperation

Further Progress In Lebanon Requires Cooperation Of Syria: Annan

New York, Apr 26 2006

The recent national political dialogue in Lebanon has forged consensus on how to consolidate the political integrity of the country, but further progress requires the cooperation of Syria, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan says in his latest report on the subject, which was presented to the Security Council today.

“With the agreements unanimously reached in the National Dialogue and their initiative to work pro-actively and constructively with the Syrian Arab Republic, a united Lebanon has offered an outstretched hand to Syria,” according to a summary of the report presented to the Council by Terje Roed-Larsen, the Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for the implementation of resolution 1559, which calls for the reduction of foreign influence in the Middle Eastern nation.

“I call on Syria to accept this offer,” he said, requesting the country, in particular, to work with Lebanonese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora on establishing diplomatic relations and delineating the border between the two countries as he has offered.

Mr. Annan said that although there has been progress in implementing the resolution – including the withdrawal of Syrian forces and the holding of legislative elections – many of its requirements have not yet been met, such as the disbanding of all Lebanese and non-Lebanese militias, the extension of the Government authority over all its territory and strict respect for political independence of the country.

In regard to the militias, he welcomed the agreement on the arms of Palestinian militias outside of refugee camps and called “on all parties who have the ability to influence Hizbollah and other militias to support the full implementation of resolution 1559.”

Asked by the press, after the Council meeting whether, those parties included Iran, Mr. Roed-Larsen replied: “We’re asking all actors, including Iran and Syria, to be helpful in this regard.”

On the issue of Lebanon’s borders, he said that the matter is not confined to any one geographical area, but settling it, as well as the militia question, is crucial to cement the territorial integrity of the country.

“Here I think it needs two to tango and it needs good will from two parties,” he remarked. “Prime Minister Signora has stretched out his hand on the basis of the unanimous polity in Lebanon from left to right, from north to south, from east to west, but it can only be resolved through a partnership between Lebanon and Syria.”

ENDS

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