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Syria Agrees To Help Enforce Arms Embargo

Syria Agrees To Help Enforce Arms Embargo On Its Border With Lebanon, Says Annan

Syria agreed today to increase the number of guards on its border with Lebanon and “take all necessary measures” to curb the flow of arms to Hizbollah as stipulated in the United Nations resolution that ended the recent hostilities with Israel, Secretary-General Kofi Annan said after meeting Syrian President Bashar al Assad.

“The President informed me that Syria supports Security Council resolution 1701 and will assist the United Nations in its implementation,” Mr. Annan said at a press conference following the discussions in Damascus, the latest stop of his diplomatic effort to bolster support for the resolution that ended the month-long fighting.

“While stating Syria’s objection to the presence of foreign troops along the Syrian-Lebanese borders, the President committed to me that Syria shall take all necessary measures to implement in full paragraph 15 of resolution 1701. That is the paragraph that deals with arms embargo and rearmament.”

These measures include increasing the number of Syrian border guards, and setting up possible joint border patrols with Lebanese police and also joint control points, Mr. Annan said, adding also that the Syrian President had invited Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora to meet to discuss normalizing relations between the two countries.

“On the question of disarmament of all militias in Lebanon, the President assured me that he accepts and supports the decisions of the Lebanese National Dialogue related to disarmament of militias,” the Secretary-General said.

“I encouraged a meeting between President Assad and Prime Minister Siniora of Lebanon to allow them to discuss issues of mutual interest and improve their relations. The President gave his consent and said that he is ready to meet Prime Minister Siniora any time and that’s a standing invitation.”

Mr. Annan also discussed humanitarian issues with the Syrian leader, including the Israeli blockade of Lebanon, which he has consistently said must be lifted, and also the release of Israeli soldiers held by Hizbollah and in Gaza, as well as the release of Lebanese prisoners.

>From Syria, the Secretary-General flew to Qatar and tomorrow he will travel to Iran for talks with the Foreign Minister and then on Sunday discussions with President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.


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