Lebanon dismisses UN report on Syria

Lebanon has dismissed a UN report on compliance with a Security Council resolution denouncing Syria's grip on its neighbour.

    Syria has some 14,000 soldiers in Lebanon

    "The question of the exit of the Syrian army is governed by bilateral agreements and relations between Lebanon and Syria," Lebanon's foreign ministry said in a statement issued on Wednesday. 

    The remarks come as the Security Council is expected to meet over the US-drafted resolution that demands the withdrawal of foreign troops from Lebanon, where Syria has some 14,000 soldiers and the last word politically. 

    UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan last week said in a report that Syria and Lebanon had not complied with that demand. 

    Redeployment

    The resolution, which also had France's backing but barely
    squeaked through the council, had been intended to head off a widely opposed constitutional amendment to keep the country's pro-Syrian president in office. 

    The UN Security Council slammed
    Syria's grip on its neighbour

    It was followed by a redeployment of about 3000 Syrian troops in Lebanon, a move whose impact on the overall military presence in the country Annan said was unclear. 

    Lebanon said the UN report ignored Israel's contribution to the region's problems. "The report is devoid of any mention of the continuous historical responsibility Israel bears for conducting a destructive policy of occupation in Palestine, Syria and Lebanon," the foreign ministry said. 

    The resolution calls for disbanding militias, a reference to Lebanon's Syrian-backed Hizb Allah fighters and Palestinian groups in Lebanon's refugee camps. 

    Lebanon and Syria defend Hizb Allah - a main force in ending
    Israel's 22-year occupation of south Lebanon in 2000 - as
    legitimate resistance to Israel, which they say continues to
    occupy Lebanese land in the disputed Shibaa Farms border zone.

    SOURCE: Reuters


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