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Syria''s Assad meets Lebanon U.N. envoy - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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DAMASCUS (Reuters) – A U.N. envoy met with Syria”s president on Sunday as the world body prepared to send a team back to Lebanon to verify that all Syrian intelligence agents had left.

&#34At the request of Secretary-General Mr. Kofi Annan, Mr. Terje Roed-Larsen met this morning in Damascus with President Bashar al-Assad,&#34 said a statement by Nejib Friji, chief of the U.N. Information Center in Beirut.

Roed-Larsen is the envoy assigned by Annan to follow up U.N. Security Council resolution 1559 that required Damascus to end 29 years of military presence in Lebanon.

&#34They discussed all relevant issues and they will continue their dialogue. Mr. Terje Roed-Larsen left Damascus after his meeting to brief the Secretary General,&#34 said the statement, without giving further details.

U.N. officials and diplomats said on Friday that Annan has decided to send a U.N. verification team back to Lebanon to see if Syrian intelligence agents were still in the country.

The move coincided with remarks by U.S. officials and Lebanese opposition figures accusing Syria of having an assassination hit list targeting anti-Syrian political figures.

President Bush said on Friday he was disturbed by reports of covert Syrian interference in Lebanese affairs.

The White House said it had information that Damascus had drawn up an assassination list of Lebanese political leaders and prominent anti-Syrian opposition leader Walid Jumblatt also made the same charge.

Syria has said that its pullout from Lebanon fulfilled its side of a U.N. resolution that also calls for the disarmament of Lebanese militias, a reference to the Iran and Syrian-backed Hizbollah guerrilla group.

A Syrian official source said late on Sunday that the Arab state has completed its pullout from Lebanon.

A United Nations verification team reported on May 23 that Syria had withdrawn its soldiers but said there was no way to determine if plainclothes agents were still in the country.&#34

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Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat is the world’s premier pan-Arab daily newspaper, printed simultaneously each day on four continents in 14 cities. Launched in London in 1978, Asharq Al-Awsat has established itself as the decisive publication on pan-Arab and international affairs, offering its readers in-depth analysis and exclusive editorials, as well as the most comprehensive coverage of the entire Arab world.

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