"Following the successful visit of international (UN) envoy Terje Roed-Larsen at the start of this month (February) to the Syrian Arab Republic and the Lebanese Republic, Syria - the government and people - express strong astonishment vis-a-vis the media and political escalation that came before the completion of the mission of the international envoy in following up the implementation of resolution 1559. 

"Based on this, Syria expresses its keen interest in cooperating with the envoy of the secretary-general of the United Nations to accomplish his mission in the best formula possible and reiterates its commitment to the implementation of the Taif Accord and the bilateral agreements between Syria and Lebanon.

"Based on this foundation, the important withdrawals that have been carried out so far and will be carried out later will be done in agreement with Lebanon against the backdrop of the Taif Accord and the mechanisms it entails.

Filling the gap

"Syria sees that speeding up the pace of withdrawals requires that the Lebanese army and internal security be enabled to fill the gap that might occur in a way that does not infringe on the security of Lebanon and Syria. 

UN resolution 1559 calls for the
withdrawal of Syrian troops

"Syria also emphasises its full interest in the completion of the investigation into the crime of the assassination of [former premier] Rafiq al-Hariri and his companions as quickly as possible to reveal facts as opposed to anxious accusations and irresponsible statements.

"Syria is willing to offer any help that Lebanon requires in the investigations alongside any international and Arab help that Lebanon could request to help in unveiling this heinous crime. 

"We draw the attention of local and world opinion to that some [parties] inside and outside Lebanon by continuing their provocation against Syria and Lebanon could lead to negative
developments that harm the interests of relevant sides, especially the Lebanese side which has always paid a hefty price for its security and the livelihood of its citizens and their prosperity at all levels."