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U.S. TO END LEBANON TRAVEL BAN IN WAKE OF SECURITY ASSURANCES

Secretary of State Madeleine Albright said today she's allowing a 10-year-old ban on U.S. travel to Lebanon to expire after receiving assurances from the government it would cooperate "across the board" to fight terrorism.

A representative of Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik al-Hariri, who issued the assurances to Ms. Albright in a telephone conversation on Tuesday, was traveling to Washington within the next 24 to 48 hours to discuss details of a closer working relationship between the two governments, she said.

"I was very concerned about making sure we have been doing everything we could to stop terrorism," Ms. Albright told reporters on her way to Hawaii after a visit to Singapore and meetings with Southeast Asian leaders in Malaysia. "(Hariri) has committed himself to a greater degree of cooperation."

Hariri said in a statement that allowing the ban to expire "helps American businessmen and investors to come" to Lebanon.

Ms. Albright said she was allowing the U.S. travel ban to expire on Thursday on the unanimous advice of her threat assessment team. It was first imposed in 1987, but had been renewed on six-months basis since 1994.

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