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UN Urges Syria To Withdraw Troops From Lebanon

Security Council Urges Syria To Withdraw Troops From Lebanon

The United Nations Security Council today again urged Syria to withdraw its remaining troops from neighbouring Lebanon and asked Secretary-General Kofi Annan to continue reporting any progress.

The Council issued a statement read out by Ambassador Adam Thomson of the United Kingdom, which holds the Council’s rotating presidency this month, voicing its concern that “the requirements set out in resolution 1559 have not been met, as reported by the Secretary-General.”

That resolution, narrowly adopted on 2 September just ahead of elections in Lebanon, declared the Council’s support for polling free from outside influence, and called for the withdrawal of all remaining foreign forces, the disbanding of all militias and the extension of Government control over the entire country.

Mr. Annan said in a report earlier this month that aside from a UN peacekeeping force, the only significant foreign forces deployed in Lebanon at the end of September were Syrian. He said Damascus indicated having some 14,000 troops still inside its smaller neighbour, stationed near the border, and that it had redeployed about 3,000 other forces.

According to that report, both Lebanon and Syria said that the timing of further withdrawals would be determined by the security situation in Lebanon and the region, but both countries said they could not provide a schedule for such action.

Today’s statement reaffirmed the Council’s “strong support for the territorial integrity, sovereignty and political independence of Lebanon within its internationally recognized borders.”

It also urged “relevant parties to implement fully all provisions of [the] resolution and welcomes the Secretary-General’s readiness to assist the parties in this regard.”

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