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UN Envoy Presses Syria on Lebanon Withdrawal


A top United Nations envoy has held what he describes as "encouraging" talks with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad about a U.N. resolution calling for all Syrian troops to leave Lebanon.

After meeting the Syrian leader Thursday in Damascus, envoy Terje Roed-Larsen said he delivered a message from U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, and that he is hopeful about implementing the U.N. measure. No schedule for further talks has been announced.

Western analysts say Syria has at least 14,000 troops in neighboring Lebanon.

Damascus has been sharply critical of a U.N. resolution passed last September, which calls for the withdrawal of all foreign forces from Lebanon. Syria has criticized the resolution as an infringement on a bilateral agreement with the Beirut government.

Some information for this report provided by AFP and Reuters.

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