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U.S.: Syria Breaking Lebanon Vow

Syrian soldiers sit on a military truck holding portraits of Syrian President Bashar Assad as they cross into Syria at the Masnaa border crossing in the Bekaa Valley east of Beirut, Lebanon, Sunday April 24, 2005. Syrian troops burned documents and dismantled military posts before they finished their effective withdrawal from Lebanon on Sunday, ending 29 years of military presence in the country. (AP Photo/Samer Husseini)
AP
The White House on Friday accused Syria of failing to live up to the terms of a United Nations resolution that it withdraw all its forces from Lebanon and accused Damascus of meddling in Lebanese elections.

"We are deeply concerned about Syria's interference and intimidation inside Lebanon," said White House spokesman Scott McClellan.

President Bush's chief spokesman said that Syrian "intelligence operatives are interfering in Lebanon's internal affairs."

Syria has said that all of its military and intelligence officials left Lebanon by April 26.

But McClellan disputed that claim.

"We have called on the United Nations to send verification teams back to Lebanon," McClellan said.

U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan has said he was considering sending a U.N. team back to Lebanon to check reports that Syrian intelligence officials may still be operating in the country.

"It's important for the international community to send a clear message to Syria that it must stop meddling in Lebanon," McClellan said. "I think the world is watching Lebanon closely."

He said that Syria's long presence had established a lingering "environment of intimidation."