American Middle East envoy William Burns will arrive in Damascus on Saturday to deliver a strong message from the U.S for President Bashar Assad to pull his troops out of Lebanon, according to a report by the Lebanese paper al-Safir.
"Burns will deliver a strong message to Syrian President Bashar Assad because it is time for Syrian troops to withdraw from Lebanon and for an end to all interference in its internal affairs," Burns' deputy Elizabeth Dibble was quoted as saying.
"This is not a new message because he has been told in the past, but it is important to say it again at the highest level of the Syrian leadership," Dibble said.
According to Dibble, Washington is considering further sanctions against Syria if it fails to comply with a United Nations Security Council resolution calling on it to refrain from intervening in its neighbor's affairs.
Sources in the U.S. and at the Security Council expressed anger last week following the Lebanese parliament's approval, by a large majority, of an extension to the presidency of pro-Syrian President Emile Lahoud by another three years.
Lebanese president Lahoud slams UN
Lebanese president Emile Lahoud accused the UN on Friday of playing into Israel's hands with a resolution condemning Damascus's grip on Lebanon and support for its Hezbollah guerrillas.
"Lebanon sees this resolution as interference in its internal affairs," he told British Ambassador to Lebanon James Watt, according to a statement from Lahoud's office.
"It represents a response to long-term Israeli demands that aim to shake the internal stability that Lebanon enjoys because of its choice to embrace the national resistance which liberated most of the south, and through coordination with Syria."
The UN tried to stop the amendment going through by passing a resolution telling foreign troops to pull out of Lebanon, militias to disband, and foreign governments to respect Lebanese sovereignty.
The Security Council's resolution does not mention Syria by name, but is seen as an attempt to stop Damascus' tight control of Lebanese politics and get rid of the 17,000 troops Syria keeps in its smaller neighbor.
Lahoud said while Beirut respected UN decisions aimed at maintaining stability, the recent resolution simply voiced Israel's demands.
Lebanon is sending a delegation to the Security Council later this month to present Beirut's case. Syria has also rejected the resolution, which was drafted by Washington, a regular critic of Damascus.