UN envoy: Syria sets pullout timetable

President Bashar al-Asad has reiterated his commitment to withdrawing all Syrian troops and intelligence agents from Lebanon, a UN envoy said, indicating that he had received a timetable for the pullout.

    UN envoy Terje Roed-Larsen (R) arrives from Lebanon

    UN envoy Terje Roed-Larsen did not give any details on Saturday but said he would discuss the matter at the United Nations next week.

    "I will present UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan with further details of the timetable for a complete Syrian pullout from Lebanon upon arrival in New York early next week," Roed-Larsen said in a statement after meeting al-Asad in the northern city of Aleppo.

    "The meeting was very constructive and I am much encouraged by President Asad's commitment to the full implementation of Security Council resolution 1559," he said.

    "The president has committed to withdraw all Syrian troops and intelligence from Lebanon in fulfilment of Security Council resolution 1559," Roed-Larsen said in the statement read to The Associated Press by Roed-Larsen's spokesman Najib Friji.


    Roed-Larsen arrived in Syria from Lebanon earlier on Saturday and held a meeting with al-Asad that was attended by Foreign Minister Faruq al-Shara and his deputy Walid al-Mualim.

    Earlier this month, al-Asad announced Syrian forces would pull back in two-stages from Lebanon. Syrian and Lebanese presidents agreed later that Syrian troops will redeploy to the eastern Bekaa Valley by the end of March but did not say when they will withdraw from Lebanon completely.

    Larsen said al-Asad reiterated
    his commitment to a withdrawal

    On Tuesday, Syria began pulling its 14,000 troops back to the eastern Bekaa Valley.

    Larsen said the redeployment to the Bekaa Valley before the end of this month will include the withdrawal of "a significant number of these Syrian troops, including intelligence," from Lebanon into Syria.

    "The second stage will lead to a complete and full withdrawal of all Syrian military personnel and the intelligence apparatus," said the UN envoy, who added that he will continue his dialogue with al-Asad and other concerned parties.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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