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UN envoy on Syrian withdrawal from Lebanon in Jordan for talks on mission

11 March 2005 The United Nations envoy seeking the withdrawal of some 14,000 Syrian troops from Lebanon today discussed full implementation of his mission with Jordanian Foreign Minister Hani al-Mulki as he prepared for his second series of talks in a month with Lebanese and Syrian leaders.

Terje Roed-Larsen, Secretary-General Kofi Annan's Special Envoy for the implementation of Security Council resolution 1559, which calls for withdrawing all foreign forces from Lebanon, disbanding all militias and extending Government control over the whole country, said he and the minister agreed on the relevant issues.

He thanked Mr. al-Mulki for Jordan's positive and important role and efforts in safeguarding stability in the region. He also spoke on the phone with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, and said they were in agreement on all the issues and would remain in close contact.

Mr. Roed-Larsen was later leaving for Beirut, the Lebanese capital, where tensions have risen since his visit there in February before the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.

That visit was his first trip in the new job he assumed in January after serving as UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process.

At the weekend Syrian President Bashar Al Assad offered a phased withdrawal of his country's troops, which have been in Lebanon since the early stages of the 1975-1990 civil war, without any timetable for completion, but Mr. Annan has stressed that "full withdrawal" was the key point.

"I hope he will be able to come back with a timetable," he has said of his envoy's latest visit.

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