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Rice Urges Syrian Pullout from Lebanon

The United States says Syria needs to get out of Lebanon and let the people there decide their political future through free and fair elections.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has discussed Lebanon with French Foreign Minister Michel Barnier on the sidelines of a London conference on Palestinian reforms.

Afterward, Secretary Rice said Syria needs to leave Lebanon and let elections proceed.

"The Syrians are out of step with the way the region is going and out of step with the aspirations of the people of the Middle East," said Ms. Rice.

She says Syria also must end its political meddling in Lebanon, where the pro-Syrian government has just resigned, and she pledges U.S. material support for free and fair elections in Lebanon.

Mr. Barnier said France agrees that the Lebanese should be, as he put it, "the masters of their own fate".