04 March 2005
White House Report, March 4: Syria/Lebanon
Bush demands complete Syrian withdrawal from Lebanon
President Bush called for the immediate withdrawal of Syrian troops and intelligence services from Lebanon and said the United States and the international community will not accept â€śhalf-hearted measures.â€ť
Speaking March 4 in Westfield, New Jersey, Bush said the United States and France, among others, are united in demanding â€ścomplete withdrawal, no half-hearted measures,â€ť Bush said.
According to media reports, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is expected to announce a partial pullout of Syrian troops from Lebanon in a March 5 address to Syrian parliament.
President Bush said that these measures are not enough.Â â€śSyrian troops, Syrian intelligence services, must get out of Lebanon now,â€ť he said.
Speaking with reporters on board Air Force One en route to Westfield, White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan said the terms of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1559 call for the total withdrawal of all foreign forces inside Lebanon.
The press secretary said the Syrian withdrawal is necessary to ensure that the Lebanese people have free and fair parliamentary elections in May.Â â€śWe support the aspirations of the Lebanese people to build a future based on democracy and to regain their sovereignty,â€ť he said.
Both President Bush and Press Secretary McClellan welcomed the March 3 statements from Saudi Arabia calling for an immediate Syrian withdrawal.Â McClellan also welcomed comments from German Chancellor Gerhard Schroder and from Russia.
(Distributed by the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)
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