Secretary-General 'encouraged' by Syria talks

13 June 2005

United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan is encouraged by the results of talks on Syria, held between his Special Envoy Terje Roed-Larsen and Syrian President Bashar el-Assad, a UN spokesman said today.

The Secretary-General was briefed today in Paris by Mr. Roed-Larsen after his return from Syria, the spokesman said in a statement, adding that Mr. Roed-Larsen's discussions with the Syrian President were constructive and helpful.

"The Secretary-General was encouraged by Mr. Roed-Larsen's report. He will continue working together with President Assad, the Syrian Government and other parties for the full implementation of Security Council resolution 1559," the statement also said.

Resolution l559 calls for the withdrawal of all foreign forces from Lebanon, the disarmament of militia, the extension of Government control over all Lebanese territory and the holding of free elections.

The Government of Syria notified Mr. Annan and the Security Council in last April that it had repatriated its troops, military assets and intelligence apparatus after 30 years in Lebanon. A UN verification mission confirmed this, except for the Syrian intelligence apparatus, which they said was, by its clandestine nature, not verifiable.