Syrian President Meets Lebanese Opposition Leader
Syrian President Bashar Assad met Lebanese opposition leader Walid Jumblatt on Wednesday for talks on developments in Lebanon following parliamentary elections in which the opposition made significant gains, reported Reuters.
Presidential spokesman Joubran Kourieh said the meeting was held at the presidential palace but gave no further details, added the agency.
AFP reported that Jumbaltt would be calling for a redeployment of some 35,000 Syrian troops in Lebanon.
"The redeployment of Syrian forces and more balanced economic relations" will be the main points on the agenda, he said in remarks published Wednesday by the French-language L'Orient-Le Jour.
He said that "according to the Taef national reconciliation accord (of 1989) the Syrian troops should, for strategic reasons, take up positions (in Lebanon) to defend Syria's flanks against Israel."
"Some redeployments should be considered as a relief to the people. In some villages, the deployment (of the Syrian army) is not purely for military objectives," he said, apparently referring to political or intelligence purposes, AFP added.
"Given the good relations between the military institutions of the two countries, some military positions can be handled by the Lebanese army and others by the Syrian army," Jumblatt added.
Jumblatt, who scored a major success in recent legislative elections, had complained during the polls of the interference of Lebanese and Syrian intelligence services, according to AFP – (Several Sources)
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