Monday, February 21, 2005

Syria Blinks ?

The Arab League chief said Monday that Syria will "soon" take steps to withdraw its army from Lebanese areas in accordance with a 1989 agreement.

The announcement by Arab League Secretary-General Amr Moussa came after a meeting with Syrian President Bashar Assad.

"Assad stressed more than once his firm determination to go on with implementing the Taif agreement and achieve Syrian withdrawal from Lebanon in accordance with this agreement," Moussa said.

"Syrian withdrawal is part of Syrian policy and will see steps in this direction very soon," Moussa quoted Assad as saying.

The 1989 agreement signed in Taif, Saudi Arabia, ended the civil war that had started in 1975. Among other things, it called for Syrian forces, which had entered Lebanon ostensibly to separate the warring sides, to withdraw within two years to the eastern Bekaa Valley near the Syrian border.