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UN Expects Syria to Complete Withdrawal from Lebanon Before May Poll

  • VOA News

UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan says he expects Syria to withdraw fully from Lebanon before Lebanese parliamentary elections set for May. Mr. Annan spoke on Thursday in New York after a briefing from his Middle East envoy, Terje Roed-Larsen.

Mr Larsen met with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad last week. In Lebanon, military officials say Syrian troops and intelligence units have withdrawn to the Syrian border. Security officials from both governments are to meet April seventh to set plans for a full evacuation from the country. Meanwhile, Reuters ) quotes Lebanese opposition leader Walid Jumblatt as saying the opposition will not join a unity government sought by the prime minister (Omar Karami), as long as pro-Syrian President Emile Lahoud remains in power. Mr. Jumblatt accuses the Lahoud government and ilts Syrian allies of involvement in last month's assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. Both governments deny involvement.

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