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Syria gives timeline for pullout


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Syria and Lebanon announce the pullback of Syrian troops.

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BEIRUT, Lebanon (CNN) -- A U.N. envoy has said that the leader of Syria gave him a timetable for the withdrawal of Syrian troops and intelligence agents out of Lebanon, a commitment the diplomat hails as "historic."

The diplomat, Terje Roed-Larsen, met in Aleppo, Syria, with Syrian President Bashar Assad.

"I think that the understanding we reached in Aleppo today, as I said, is historic. It means that Syria is leaving Lebanon, and this I think is now a reality ... we have specific timelines," Roed-Larsen said.

"It is just a couple of weeks down the line and I will say that based on my conversations today this is now an irreversible fact."

The Syrian troop occupation in Lebanon stirred mass outrage after the assassination last month of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, which many Lebanese blame on Syria.

He didn't give many specifics, however, but said the meeting was "long and good," "constructive" and "bodes well for the future."

"What the president gave me is a precise commitment in operational terms. There are timelines and there are figures."

Roed-Larsen, interviewed in Lebanon by CNN's Brent Sadler, said he is headed back to New York and U.N. headquarters Monday to report the details of the plan to U.N. Secretary General Mr. Kofi Annan.

"All military personnel, Syrian military personnel in Lebanon will be by the border at the end of this month. And all intelligence personnel will also be at the border, and a fairly significant number will also cross the border into Syria before the end of this month," Roed-Larsen said.

"Mr. Assad also said they have a specific timeline for the full and complete withdrawal of both the intelligence apparatus and all uniformed officers and soldiers in his apparatus in Lebanon."

He said Assad is committed to fulfilling those obligations in U.N. Security Council resolution 1559 that call in part for withdrawing all foreign forces from Lebanon.

He said discussions are continuing over other aspects of the resolution, such as the existence of militias and the country's independence and political sovereignty.

"I have a commitment from the president of Syria that he will meet all of his obligations related to the implementation of Security Council Resolution 1559."

But the crisis over Syria isn't over.

Roed-Larsen said the international community and the key players "need to see deeds" and now there are simply hopeful "words."

"Within the next two weeks, based on the commitments I got, there will be a new atmosphere both in the region and in the international community. But I'd liked to emphasize that all of the provisions of 1559 have to be implemented."


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