04/27/2005, 00.00
LEBANON - SYRIA
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Najib Mikati's government goes ahead

UN report still unclear on Syrian spies, points to Hezbollah's failure to disarm.

Beirut (AsiaNews) – Lebanon's National Assembly gave a vote of confidence to the new government led by Najib Mikati. The new, 13-member cabinet was voted in by 109 of the assembly's 125 members.

Before the session was over, National Assembly Speaker Nabih Berri convened the Justice Committee to meet tomorrow to review the election bill necessary for the May poll.

In the meantime, United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan released a report in which he expressed hope that Lebanon and Syria would "establish diplomatic relations" and that foreign observers would be present during the elections he hoped would be "free and fair".

Mr Annan added he could not say whether Syrian pullout from Lebanon was complete until a UN verification team handed in their report on "Syria's total withdrawal".

Annan said that he had no indications as to the accuracy of information according to which Syrian secret agents were still operating in Lebanon.

Some intelligence sources have said that Syrian spies are still in the country using local groups and private dwellings.

Annan stated however that both the Lebanese and Syrian governments have called such rumours baseless.

The UN Chief explained that in respect to one aspect of UN Resolution 1559, namely Hezbollah's disarmament, "there has been no progress". (YH)

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