Syria Announces Partial Withdrawal from Lebanon
(IFM) Syria will pull its forces in Lebanon back to the eastern
Bekaa by the end of March according to announcements by the presidents
of Syria and Lebanon, Ha’Aretz reported. However, Syrian
President Bashar Assad and Lebanese President Emile Lahoud delayed
a decision on a complete Syrian withdrawal to a later date. Shortly
after the announcement, five Syrian military trucks loaded with
furniture headed east up the Lebanese mountains, marking the apparent
first movement of the pullback.
exiled opposition leader and former general Michel Aoun dismissed
the move, calling it a "maneuvering to win time." France
and Germany renewed calls for a full and complete withdrawal of
Syrian troops and services as soon as possible. The United States
said on Sunday that it would not stand by as Assad takes "half
measures" in Lebanon, promising to step up pressure for a
complete and immediate withdrawal by May elections.
Defense Shaul Mofaz assessed in remarks broadcast Monday that
Syria would be forced to pull its troops from Lebanon before May.
Says Syria Must Pull Troops from Lebanon Now
Bush’s spokesman says Syria needs to pull all its forces out of
says the plan announced by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and
his Lebanese counterpart, Emile Lahoud, falls far short.
to see the complete and immediate withdrawal of all Syrian military
forces and all intelligence services in Lebanon," he said.
"This is a half-measure that simply does not meet that objective."
plan, Syrian forces will redeploy to border areas in Lebanon by
the end of March, with a timetable for a full withdrawal to be
House spokesman says it does not meet demands set by the United
they need to focus on the Security Council resolution that was
passed last year – resolution 1559 – which calls for an end to
all foreign occupation of Lebanon, and which also calls for support
for free and fair elections, and calls for a sovereign and independent
Lebanon," he said.
spoke to reporters as protests against the Syrian presence continued
in the streets of Beirut. He said the Lebanese people are showing
their desire to live in freedom.
we want to see the Syrian and Lebanese governments respect the
will of the Lebanese people," he said. "The United States,
like the rest of the international community, stands with the
had troops in neighboring Lebanon since 1976, when they were sent
in during that country’s civil war. They remained when the war
grown in recent weeks for a complete withdrawal of Syrian forces
from Lebanon following the assassination of former Lebanese Prime
Minister Rafik Hariri. He was killed in a car bombing last month
in central Beirut.
the President’s Radio Address on the Syria and Lebanon Issue Click