Response From The Arab World
Several Arab states also joined in with the withdrawal demands. As Al-Assad arrived in Saudi Arabia for emergency consultation with Crown Prince Abdullah bin Abdel-Aziz, Assad was told in no uncertain terms that Syria must comply with UN Security Council demands immediately. It was reported by the opposition Lebanese newspaper The Daily Star that Assad offered to remove most of the 15,000 troops Syria has stationed in Lebanon during the talks, but insisted on leaving a force of 3,000 in the country. This has not been independently corroborated.
The annual Arab summit, which took place on March 23 in Algeria, did not ask Syria to withdraw, which would have given the pullback an Arab endorsement as envisaged in the 1989 Taif Agreement rather than making it dependent on Resolution 1559. Algerian Foreign Minister Abdel-Aziz Belkhadem discussed the consensus ahead of the summit, stating that "we all agreed to demand the implementation of the Taif Accord with respect to international legitimacy". Controversially, the crisis in Lebanon was not included on the agenda for the summit, which almost half of the Arab leaders did not attend.
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