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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

VOICE OF AMERICA
SLUG: 2-322935 US / Syria DATE: NOTE NUMBER:

DATE=3/1/2005

TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT

TITLE=US / SYRIA (L-ONLY)

NUMBER=2-322935

BYLINE=MICHAEL DRUDGE

DATELINE=LONDON

HEADLINE: US Slams Syria Over Terrorism

INTRO: The United States has ratcheted up its pressure on Syria, demanding a Syrian pullout from Lebanon and the dismantling of terrorist camps in the southern part of that country. We get details from VOA's Michael Drudge in London.

TEXT: Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has spoken out sharply about Syrian interference in the Middle East against a U.S.-backed movement to spread democracy through the region.

At the end of a London conference on Palestinian reforms, Secretary Rice was asked what steps the United States could take to get Syria out of Lebanon. She called on Syria to comply with a U.N. Security Council resolution and withdraw its forces from Lebanon.

///RICE ACT///

"The first task is impressing upon the Syrians the importance of complying with Resolution 15-59 which requires that Syrian forces withdraw, and I want to be very clear, we mean Syrian military forces and their security services."

///END ACT///

Earlier this week, Syria said it planned to redeploy its troops in Lebanon. Washington had welcomed the Syrian announcement, but said the withdrawal should be immediate and all troops should be pulled out.

Ms. Rice also said Syria should dismantle terrorist camps in southern Lebanon as part of any withdrawal.

///2ND RICE ACT///

"We expect that the dismantling of terrorist activities would have to be an important part of anything moving forward. There can't continue to be terrorist strikes against Israel or anyone else from southern Lebanon and that message has also been very clear to the Syrians."

///END ACT///

She accused Damascus of backing terrorists who are active against Israel, Iraq and the Palestinian Authority under newly elected President Mahmoud Abbas.

In a separate interview with an American television network (ABC), Ms. Rice said there is firm evidence that the Syrian-based group Islamic Jihad carried out a suicide bombing Friday in Tel Aviv, an attack that cast a shadow over the London conference.

Earlier in the day, Ms. Rice said the United States is prepared to offer material support to Lebanon for free and fair elections to replace a pro-Syrian government that has just resigned. She said Syria must stop meddling in Lebanon's politics. (Signed).

NEB/MWD/MR/KBK



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