Syria Says it will Cooperate with UN on Israeli Withdrawal
Syria is committed to cooperating with the UN forces tasked with helping restore peace and security in southern Lebanon when Israeli troops withdraw by July, the UN special envoy said here Sunday.
"Foreign Minister Faruq Shara assured me of Syria's support for the United Nations," envoy Terje Roed-Larsen told reporters after meeting the Syrian minister.
Roed-Larsen said that he briefed Shara on the outcomes of his talks he held in each of Israel and Lebanon.
In this respect, the UN envoy said "we highly valued Lebanese President
Emile Lahoud’s statement in which he not just asserted his country's commitment to cooperate with the UN on implementing resolutions 425 and 426, but also his country's commitment on the safety and security of the peacekeeping troops in the operations region.
The envoy concluded his statement by saying that after the end of consultations in the region and consultations conducted by secretary general
Kofi Annan with concerned countries on the issue of Israeli withdrawal from
Lebanon, Annan will present a report on arrangements required to implement the two resolutions.
Shara himself said that "Syria supports the role of the United Nations for the implementation of the two resolutions and all other related resolutions of the Security Council," according to the official news agency SANA.
Resolutions 425 and 426 call for an immediate and unconditional Israeli withdrawal from Lebanon.
Shara also said he recognized "the need for the United Nations to fulfill its responsibilities."
Roed-Larsen praised the May 4 Palmyra declaration from Shara and his Egyptian and Saudi counterparts, particularly the "call of the three ministers for the United Nations, through its UNIFIL (Interim Forces In Lebanon), to 'be allowed to carry out the security tasks with which it is charged' under Resolutions 425 and 426."
"The kind of unconditional support for the UN expressed in the Palmyra statement provides us with the backing that we will need to shoulder our heavy responsibilities" towards Lebanon in line with these resolutions, he said.
The envoy said he had agreed with Shara "peace in this region can only be achieved through the successful conclusion of a just, lasting and comprehensive settlement based on all the relevant Security Council resolutions."
He expressed the hope that "the implementation of 425 and 426 will provide an impetus for a renewal of the Madrid peace process on all tracks, including the Syrian track."
The Palmyra final communiqué represented the first time Syria pledged its backing to a strong UN role in southern Lebanon.
That document also expressed support for Syria's insistence on a total withdrawal by Israel from the occupied Golan Heights to the positions existing before the June 1967 war.
It blamed "Israeli stubbornness" for the hold-up in Syrian-Israeli talks, frozen since January – (Agencies)
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