U.S. envoy tells Syria to withdraw troops from Lebanon, end interference in Lebanese affairs.

Saturday, September 11th 2004, 9:48 am
By: News On 6

DAMASCUS, Syria (AP) _ A senior U.S. official urged Syria on Saturday to withdraw its troops from Lebanon and stop interfering in internal Lebanese affairs.

William J. Burns, the U.S. assistant secretary of State for the Near East, also said Syria must take ``concrete action'' in cooperating with the U.S.-led war on terrorism by halting support for militant Palestinian factions based in Damascus.

``We underscored our deep concern over Syrian intervention in the Lebanese political process and reiterated that, in accordance with U.N. Security Council Resolution 1559, Syria must end its interference in Lebanese internal affairs, withdraw its forces from Lebanon and allow the Lebanese armed forces and government to establish their authority throughout Lebanon,'' Burns told reporters after a two-hour meeting with Syrian President Bashar Assad.

Burns' visit came amid strained Syrian-U.S. relations and more than a week after a divided Security Council passed a resolution demanding foreign forces leave Lebanon and a presidential election be held in order to stop Beirut following Syrian policy and extending the term of pro-Syria President Emile Lahoud for another three years.