A senior United Nations envoy says Syria has pledged to remove all its troops and intelligence agents from Lebanon, "fully and completely," by the end of this month.

U.N. special envoy Terje Roed-Larsen announced Syria's commitment to an April 30 deadline for withdrawing all of the thousands of troops it still has in Lebanon.

Mr. Roed-Larsen spoke to reporters in Damascus today (Sunday) after meeting with (Syria's) President Bashar Assad and Foreign Minister Farouk al-Sharaa.

Syria has faced increasing international pressure to remove its troops ever since a car-bomb explosion in Beirut that killed former Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri on February 14.

Many Lebanese accused Syria of responsibility for Mr. Hariri's assassination. Despite denials from Damascus, crowds of demonstrators denouncing Syria gathered repeatedly in Beirut until the troops' withdrawal was agreed.

The Syrian pullout is already well under way. All Syrian forces have left western Lebanon for new positions in the eastern Bekaa Valley, closer to their country's border, and reports from region say soldiers and equipment have been crossing into Syrian territory.