Beirut streets show signs of the times

Mock street signs have gone up on Beirut's airport road giving the thumbs down to UN Security Council Resolution 1559 which directs Syrian troops to pull out of Lebanon.

    Syrian troops are continuing their withdrawal from Lebanon

    A "1559" sign hangs below a stop sign.

    "Resistance - the true way," reads another, referring to the Shia Muslim movement Hizb Allah, whose fighters won credit for the withdrawal of Israeli troops from south Lebanon in May 2000 after two decades of occupation. 

    Beirut motorists are also being advised: "No to foreign interference."

    Washington and Paris sponsored UN Resolution 1559, passed last September, calling for the withdrawal of all foreign troops and for militias such as Hizb Allah to be disarmed. 

    Syria's pledge

    Syrian Foreign Minister Faruq al-Shara in a letter to UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan on Tuesday pledged that Syria would pull its troops out before Lebanon's parliamentary elections due by the end of May. 

    On the roads of eastern Lebanon, the Syrian army continued on Wednesday for an eighth consecutive day to dismantle positions in the Bekaa Valley as it pressed on with its pullout. 

    Dozens of military trucks and vehicles were seen heading for the border. 

    Some 10 trucks loaded with files and office furniture also left the Syrian headquarters in Lebanon in the border town of Anjar, where the powerful military intelligence chief, General Rustum Ghazili, is based. 

    Syria, whose troops were first deployed to Lebanon in 1976 to serve as a buffer between warring sides, has said it is pulling out under the Taif Accord which ended the 1975-1990 civil war, and not under international pressure. 

    SOURCE: AFP


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