Former Lebanese Ministers to Reveal 'True Story' of Taef Agreement
Fourteen former ministers have pledged to "tell the true story" on Thursday of what transpired during the 1989 talks in Taef, Saudi Arabia that helped end the 15-year civil war, according to the Daily Star.
The gathering will take place at the Press Federation, where participants are expected to answer allegations concerning the nature of discussions among Lebanese political leaders.
In 1989, the Arab League brokered the peace settlement to end the civil war in Lebanon. According to the Taef Accord, sponsored in particular by Saudi Arabia, Algeria and Morocco, Syrian troops were to be redeployed from their positions in Lebanon's coastal population areas to the Bekaa Valley, with full withdrawal contingent upon the fulfillment of other aspects of the Taef Accord and subsequent agreement by both the Lebanese and Syrian governments.
Seven of the ten thousand Syrian troops stationed in Beirut have left the capital in an unexpected redeployment that started on June 14.
There were contradictory reports on the size of the pullout, but opponents to Syrian presence in Lebanon sounded upbeat after the move.
“The massive military pullout from Greater Beirut has been completed," a Lebanese official told Reuters at the time.
He said, however, that some "strategic and sensitive" positions remained guarded by Syrian soldiers, waiting to be handed over to the Lebanese Army.
For its part, the US had said that the withdrawal was “incomplete.”
"At this point, we're watching the situation closely," State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said. "We've seen ongoing but incomplete redeployments."
"These are matters for the Lebanese and the Syrian authorities to decide and coordinate on," he said, noting that the 1989 Taef accords that ended Lebanon's 15-year civil war called for a troop withdrawal as early as 1992.
Neither the Lebanese nor Syrian governments have commented on the scope of the redeployment, announced in a Lebanese army statement.
The scaling back of Syrian troops followed stepped-up calls this year, mostly by Christian Lebanese, for Syria's estimated 27,000 troops to be withdrawn following the end of Israel's 22-year occupation of southern Lebanon in May 2000 – Albawaba.com
© 2001 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)
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