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Syria indicates it will withdraw troops from Lebanon soon

[JURIST] Syrian officials have indicated that the country will soon begin to withdraw its troops from Lebanon in compliance with the Taif agreement [text], signed at the end of Lebanon's 1975-90 civil war. Syria's move coincides with President Bush's speech [White House text] in Belgium today, which pressed for Syria to "end its occupation" of its neighbor. The international community and the Lebanese opposition have exerted increased pressure on Syria to pull its troops since the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik al-Hariri [Wikipedia profile] in Beirut a week ago, which many blame on Syria. Arab League [official website] chief Amr Moussa said Monday that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad [official website] has told him that Syrian troops will soon be withdrawn from Lebanon according to the Taif agreement, which committed Syria to shifting its troops to the eastern Bekaa Valley. It also stipulated that Syria and Lebanon must agree on a timetable for a complete troop pullout. No agreement on a timetable has yet been made. Syria pulled out or redeployed a few thousand troops last year and is expected to pull out more after the May general election in Lebanon. Reuters has more.

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