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UN Envoy Meets Lebanese Political Leaders


UN envoy Terje Roed-Larsen meets with top Lebanese officials Sunday in Beirut, one day after receiving assurances from Syria it will pull all troops from Lebanon.

Mr. Roed-Larsen plans to hold talks with leaders of Lebanon's Syrian-backed government to discuss the withdrawal.

After visiting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad Saturday, the UN envoy said Syria had pledged to fulfill obligations under a UN Security Council resolution 1559 that calls for all foreign forces to leave Lebanon.

Mr. Roed-Larsen gave no details, but senior UN officials quoted in the Washington Post say one-third of Syria's forces should be out of Lebanon by the end of this month.

All remaining troops are expected to relocate to the Bekaa Valley in eastern Lebanon during the next three weeks, and Syria reportedly has promised to shut down its large intelligence headquarters in Beirut.

The newspaper says a joint Syrian-Lebanese commission will meet early next month to set a date for completion of the troop pullout, which will affect nearly 15-thousand troops and five-thousand intelligence agents, ending Syria's 29-year military presence in Lebanon.

Information for this report is provided by AFP and Reuters.

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