DAMASCUS, March 12: Syrian President Bashar al Assad has agreed to remove all his military and intelligence personnel from Lebanon, a UN envoy said on Saturday, adding that details of a timetable would be given to the UN secretary general next week.

The president has committed to withdrawing all troops and intelligence services from Lebanon in fulfilment of Security Council Resolution 1559, envoy Terje Roed-Larsen said in a statement after talks with Mr Assad in the northern Syrian city of Aleppo.

I will present to Mr Annan further details of the timetable for a complete Syrian pullout from Lebanon on my arrival in New York early next week.

But he did not disclose a timeframe for the final phase of what he said would be a two-stage manoeuvre.

For its part, the Syrian state news agency SANA confirmed that an understanding had been reached to withdraw the troops, though it did not mention the intelligence personnel.

The two parties reached an understanding under which Syrian forces will withdraw from Lebanon in two stages, SANA said, without giving a date for the final step.

In a first stage, all Syrian forces will redeploy to the Bekaa Valley before the end of March, and a good part of those forces will re-enter Syria. In a second stage, the remaining forces will withdraw completely.

Mr Annan had sent Mr Roed-Larsen to secure a firm date for a complete pullout by Syria.

Resolution 1559, passed by the Security Council last year and co-sponsored by France and the United States, calls for Syrias withdrawal as well as the disarming of militant groups like Hezbollah.

Mr Roed-Larsens meeting with President Assad came after convoys of Syrian troops had already returned home on Saturday in a partial pullout of the 14,000-strong force in Lebanon.

Of his agreement with Mr Assad, the envoy said: The first stage will see the relocation of all military forces and intelligence apparatus to the Bekaa valley by the end of March.

Further, a significant number of these Syrian forces, including intelligence (personnel), will be withdrawn from Lebanon into Syria during this stage.

The second stage will lead to a complete and full withdrawal of all Syrian military personnel, assets and intelligence apparatus, Mr Roed-Larsen said in a statement in Beirut.

The envoy travelled to Syria from Beirut, where he expressed his condolences on Friday to the family of slain Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri.AFP

Opinion

Hoping for miracles
Updated 26 Sep 2021

Hoping for miracles

Pakistan will be exposed to international recrimination if the Taliban revert to their old ways.

Editorial

Updated 26 Sep 2021

Intransigent Taliban

PRIME MINISTER Imran Khan has delivered an effective speech at the UN General Assembly session detailing the salient...
26 Sep 2021

Deadly misinformation

THE distinction between ‘fake’ and ‘authentic’ news is now a concept impossible to escape. In an...
26 Sep 2021

Covid arrests

THE unilateral decision taken by Karachi’s East Zone police to arrest citizens without Covid vaccination cards ...
25 Sep 2021

NAB controversy

THE completion of the four-year term of NAB chairman Javed Iqbal early next month has afforded Prime Minister Imran...
Cabinet ‘inclusivity’
Updated 25 Sep 2021

Cabinet ‘inclusivity’

Voices are being raised questioning when the much-hyped inclusivity the group had talked about will materialise.
25 Sep 2021

Quorum malady

LACK of quorum has become a chronic problem for the present National Assembly which is in the process of becoming a...