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UN Expects Full Syrian Pullout from Lebanon by May


U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan says he expects Syria to completely withdraw its troops from Lebanon before elections there in May. But the Bush administration says it remains skeptical about Syria's intentions.

Mr. Annan's statement was read to reporters by Fred Eckhard, a spokesman in New York Thursday, marking the first time the U.N. chief has indicated there is a deadline for Syria's compliance with a U.N. resolution 1559 demanding the withdrawal of its troops.

A U.S. State Department spokesman Adam Ereli said Thursday the Bush Administration shares the secretary-general's expectations Syria will be out of Lebanon by May.

But the spokesman says there is still no clear statement from Damascus that its troops and intelligence officers will be completely withdrawn.

Syria has already withdrawn thousands of troops, but several thousand remain in Lebanon.

Information for this report is provided by AP and Reuters.

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