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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

VOICE OF AMERICA
SLUG: 2-323045 Israel Syria (L-O) DATE: NOTE NUMBER:

DATE=3/6/2005

TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT

TITLE=ISRAEL/SYRIA (L-Only)

NUMBER=2-323045

BYLINE=ROBERT BERGER

DATELINE=JERUSALEM

CONTENT=

HEADLINE: Israel Pressures Syria for Complete Withdrawal from Lebanon

INTRO: Israel is stepping up pressure on Syria, after its president, Bashar Assad, declared Syrian troops would be re-deployed from coastal and central Lebanon to the Bekaa Valley. As Robert Berger reports from VOA's Jerusalem bureau, Israel believes a Lebanon free of Syrian occupation would be good for the peace process.

TEXT: Israeli Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom says it is time for Syria to comply with U.N. resolutions and fully withdraw from Lebanon.

/// SHALOM ACT ///

"The Lebanese people deserve to have freedom and to have sovereignty."

/// END ACT ///

Mr. Shalom will press that point when he meets with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in Washington later this week. Israel wants the United States to keep up the pressure on Damascus, because it is convinced that Syria has no intention of fully withdrawing from Lebanon, despite the announcement of a troop redeployment.

Mr. Shalom told a Jerusalem news conference that a Lebanon without Syrian influence would advance peace in the Middle East.

/// SHALOM ACT ///

"It will move them to adopt more moderate attitude toward Israel."

/// END ACT ///

Israel sees the best opportunity in decades to bring quiet to its volatile northern border, and it wants to keep up the momentum.

Syrian forces entered Lebanon in 1976 with an Arab League mandate to quell a 15-year civil war, but Syrian troops stayed, despite a 1990 accord that ended the conflict. (SIGNED)

NEB/RB/RAE/TW



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