Annan: Syria to enforce arms embargo

UN chief asks Assad to use influence to win release of the kidnapped soldiers.

annan ugly 298.88 (photo credit: AP)
annan ugly 298.88
(photo credit: AP)
UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan said Friday that Syria would step up border patrols and work with the Lebanese army to stop the flow of weapons to Hizbullah. Syria will increase its own patrols along the Lebanon-Syria border, and establish joint patrols with the Lebanese army "when possible," Annan said after meeting with Syrian President Bashar Assad in Damascus. Assad made no public comments after their meeting, but Annan spoke with reporters at the Damascus airport before he departed midday for Qatar. The UN resolution that halted fighting between Israel and Hizbullah calls for an arms embargo on the guerrilla group, and for Lebanon to "secure its borders and other entry points." Annan said Assad informed him that Syria would "take all necessary measures" to implement paragraph 15 of UN resolution 1701, which calls on countries to prevent the sale or supply of weapons to entities in Lebanon without the consent of the Lebanese government or UN peacekeepers. The UN chief also asked Syria to "use its influence" to win the release of three Israeli soldiers - two captured by Hezbollah in a July 12 cross-border raid that started the war, and one captured by Hamas-linked militants in Gaza the previous month. Assad said he supported their release, but raised the issue of Syrian prisoners held in Israel, Annan said.