THE EUROPEAN UNION
Brussels, 23 March 2005
1. The meeting was preceded by a presentation given by Mr Josep Borrell, President of the European Parliament, followed by an exchange of views. The President of the Commission took the opportunity to present the Commission's strategic objectives for 2005-2009. The Heads of State or Government took note and welcomed the close agreement between the Council, the European Parliament and the Commission on the Union's priorities, particularly with regard to legislative activity for the coming years.
51. The European Council endorses the conclusions adopted by the Council on 16 March 2005 concerning Lebanon. It reaffirms its commitment to a sovereign, independent and democratic Lebanon. It recalls the importance of UN Security Council Resolution 1559 and expresses its full support for the mission of the United Nations Secretary-General's Special Envoy.
52. The European Council calls on Syria to implement rapidly the pledges made by President Bashar al-Assad on 12 March 2005 to withdraw all Syrian troops and intelligence services from Lebanon. That withdrawal must be complete and must be carried out in accordance with a precise timetable.
53. The European Council hopes that a new government will be formed at an early date and that it can act in the interests of all Lebanese. That government will have to be able to organise free, fair and transparent elections on schedule, in accordance with the Lebanese constitution, without any outside interference or meddling. The European Union will keep a careful watch on the electoral process and stand ready to provide its assistance.