Lebanese, Syrian Military Chiefs Review Redeployment
High-ranking Lebanese and Syrian military officers met Friday in Beirut to review the latest redeployment of Syrian troops in Lebanon, reported the Daily Star newspaper on Saturday.
The meeting was seen as a step to allay fears among some about the motives behind the redeployment and its scope.
Lebanon’s Army commander General Michel Suleiman received Major General Ibrahim Safi, commander of Syrian troops stationed in the country, who was accompanied by Major General Ghazi Kenaan, chief of Syrian intelligence in Lebanon.
A number of other senior officers were present.
Suleiman stressed the importance of cooperation and coordination between the two armies, especially with regard to the redeployment operation.
He paid tribute to “efforts and sacrifices” made by Syrian troops in achieving security and stability in the country and in backing the Lebanese Army in carrying out its “national duties.”
The officers went on a tour of joint Syrian and Lebanese military positions in eastern and southern Lebanon, said the paper.
Syrian President Bashar Assad has confirmed that the surprise troop withdrawal from Beirut was coordinated by the military commands of the two countries, and that his forces’ presence in Lebanon was temporary.
“What happened was a redeployment of the Syrian forces in Lebanon. This was the subject of technical considerations decided by the military in both Syria and Lebanon,” Assad told the France 2 television station on Thursday.
“It is certainly connected to a decision of the political leaderships in both states. There is continuous coordination between the military leaderships in both countries (on this issue),” he said in the interview on the eve of his June 25-27 official visit to Paris.
Officials said that some of the troops which had left Beirut had joined other forces already deployed in the Bekaa Valley, but the majority had returned to Syria.
Assad declined to give a date Syria's full withdrawal – Albawaba.com
© 2001 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)
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