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US warns Syria against intervention in Lebanon
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The United States sent a clear warning against Syrian intervention in Lebanon, the Pan Arab daily al-Hayat reported Thursday.

The report quoted a senior U.S. state department official as warning Syria against "using the latest terrorist acts in Damascus and (Lebanon's) Tripoli as a pretext for Syrian intervention in Lebanese affairs."

The U.S. official said that "the international community has made it clear to Syria that it cannot send its forces into Lebanon, " adding that Washington was briefed on reports of Syrian troops build-up along the borders with Lebanon.

However, Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem who met last Friday with U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice described the meeting as "good progress in the American position."

Muallem said that border control with Lebanon was "impossible" because it requires demarcation of the Lebanese-Syrian border and a security agreement between the two sides.

Al-Hayat daily said in another report that Damascus was worried about the situation in the northern Lebanese city of Tripoli because of historic ties between the city's Sunni community and the Sunnis of Homs in Syria.

The Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said earlier this week that the situation in North Lebanon posses a danger to the situation in Syria, a statement which was interpreted by many observers as a pretext for an incursion into North Lebanon.

The U.S. administration froze diplomatic relations with Syria following the 2005 assassination of former Premier Rafik Hariri, which Washington blames on Syria, while Syria denied involvement.

(Xinhua News Agency October 2, 2008)

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