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NEW YORK - The United Nations Security Council was due to have voted last night on a resolution demanding that Syria "remove without delay its forces from Lebanon," while supporting "the free and fair presidential elections in Lebanon." Diplomats and other observers at the UN noted yesterday that this was a resolution that was a first of its kind regarding the Middle East, in which criticism is unequivocally leveled against an Arab country, in this case Syria.

U.S. sources noted that in the version of the resolution being circulated yesterday, a demand that Damascus cease assisting terrorist organizations was removed.

Nonetheless, the text of the resolution, prepared by the U.S. and France, calls for the "dissolution and disarmament of all Lebanese and non-Lebanese militias." The immediate motive behind this initiative is an effort to prevent the re-appointment of the current president of Lebanon, Emile Lahoud, who is favored by Syria and is pressing the Lebanese parliament to alter the constitution for this purpose.