UN envoy: Syria provides timetable for Lebanon pullout
Syrian President Bashar al Assad reiterated his commitment to withdrawing all Syrian forces and intelligence agents from Lebanon, a U.N. envoy said Saturday, indicating that he had received a timetable for the pullout.
U.N. envoy Terje Roed-Larsen did not give any details about timing after meeting with Assad in the northern city of Aleppo but said he would discuss the issue at the United Nations next week.
"I will present U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan with further details of the timetable for a complete Syrian pullout from Lebanon upon arrival in New York early next week," Roed-Larsen said in a statement read to The Associated Press by spokesman Najib Friji.
Roed-Larsen arrived in Syria from Lebanon earlier Saturday and held a meeting with Assad that was attended by Foreign Minister Farouk al-Sharaa and his deputy Walid al-Moualem, the Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA).
The envoy said the meeting was "very constructive" and he was "much encouraged by President Assad's commitment to the full implementation" of the U.N. Security Council resolution calling for Syria's immediate withdrawal from Lebanon.
Larsen said the redeployment to the Bekaa Valley before the end of this month will include the withdrawal of "a significant number of these Syrian troops, including intelligence," from Lebanon into Syria.
"The second stage will lead to a complete and full withdrawal of all Syrian military personnel and the intelligence apparatus," the U.N. envoy said, adding that he will continue his dialogue with Assad and other concerned parties.