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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

SLUG: 2-323046 US / Syria-Lebanon DATE: NOTE NUMBER:









HEADLINE: U.S. Skeptical about Syria's Withdrawal Pledge

INTRO: The Bush administration says it is skeptical of Syria's pledge to redeploy troops stationed in Lebanon. From Washington, VOA's Michael Bowman reports.

TEXT: White House adviser Dan Bartlett says, when it comes to Syrian promises, actions speak louder than words. Speaking on CNN's "Late Edition" program, Mr. Bartlett questioned the sincerity of Syria's pledge.


"It seems to be more generalities and half-measures, rather than living up to the international community's demands. In 1559, the UN Security Council resolution, it calls for an immediate withdrawal - not only of troops, but also Syrian secret services and intelligence officials that really keep the clamp of fear on the Lebanese people, to fully withdraw as well."

/// END ACT ///

Saturday, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad promised to pull 14-thousand troops stationed in Lebanon back to the Syrian border. U.S. officials note that no timetable for the withdrawal was announced, and no specific assurance given that no Syrian military personnel or other operatives would remain on Lebanese soil.

But others in the Middle East are striking a more hopeful tone. Also speaking on CNN, Saudi Arabian foreign policy advisor Adel al-Jubeir indicated he is willing to give Syria the benefit of the doubt.


"I believe that at the end of the day it is inevitable that the Syrian government will comply with the U.N. Security Council resolution - their president has said so."

/// END ACT ///

Jordan's ambassador in Washington, Karim Kawar, said that Syria's withdrawal from Lebanon should proceed in a deliberate and orderly fashion to achieve the best-possible outcome.

/// KAWAR ACT ///

"One that ensures a stable Lebanon - certainly we do not want to see any upheaval - but one that also ensures free and fair elections [in Lebanon]."

/// END ACT ///

But Israel's ambassador to the United States, Daniel Ayalon, says a Syrian troop withdrawal, by itself, is not enough.

/// AYALON ACT ///

"For the Lebanese government to regain sovereignty over all its borders, the Hezbollah, which is a major and very dangerous terror organization, needs to be dismantled. Also, there is an element of Iran's presence - revolutionary guards in the Bekaa [Valley] - which also have to go."

/// END ACT ///

More details about a timetable for Syria's withdrawal from Lebanon are expected after this week's planned visit to Damascus by a United Nations envoy [Terje Roed-Larsen]. (SIGNED)


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Page last modified: 24-07-2011 09:36:20 Zulu