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Bush Calls On Syria To Pull Troops From Lebanon

17 February 2005 -- U.S. President George W. Bush said today that Syria is "out of step" with other countries in the Middle East and said the United States will work with other states to pressure Damascus to remove its troops from Lebanon.

Bush said he did not know if Syria was involved in the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.

Bush said the fact that the United States has withdrawn its ambassador to Syria speaks for itself.

"We've recalled our ambassador [to Syria], which indicates that the relationship is not moving forward; that Syria is out of step with the progress being made in the greater Middle East; that democracy is on the move, and this is a country that isn't moving with the democratic movement," Bush said.

The president said he would consult with allies about Syria when he visits Europe next week, and said the United States supports an international investigation of Hariri's assassination.

Earlier today, Iranian President Mohammad Khatami Tehran's support for Syria, after talks with visiting Syrian Prime Minister Naji al-Otari.