WASHINGTON (AFP) – The United States said it was disappointed by UN Secretary General Kofi Annan‘s delay in releasing a much-awaited report on Syria’s pledge to withdraw troops from Lebanon.  “There was a decision to postpone the report by a week. We are disappointed by this delay. We don’t see the need for delaying it,” deputy State Department spokesman Adam Ereli told reporters. “We certainly look forward to an update from the secretary general on 1559 implementation,” he said, referring to Resolution 1559, pushed by France and the United States and adopted by the Security Council last year calling on Syria to pull its forces out of its smaller neighbour. US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice told Annan by telephone this week that “a timely publication of the report was desirable, was important,” Ereli said.

She also stressed that “there be no doubt in anybody’s mind” that the international community wanted Syria to withdraw from Lebanon fully and immediately and that all foreign forces should disband and that elections should take place by the end of May.

At the United Nations, spokesman Stephane Dujarric said the report was “not so much delayed as it was decided that it will be released at a later date to enable us to include more complete information.”

On Tuesday, the day the report was due, Annan had said that the report was not ready and that the United Nations was awaiting developments in Lebanon and Syria.

Ereli said “it wasn’t readily apparent to us what need there was to delay the report.”

The United States however supported Annan’s decision to send a team to Lebanon to verify that Syria will have completed implementation of Resolution 1559.

“We would encourage that to be done by the end of the month,” Ereli said.

Syria’s decision to withdraw its troops came after the February 14 assassination of popular former Lebanese prime minister Rafiq Hariri, blamed by many on the Lebanese regime and its political masters in Damascus.

Hariri’s killing sparked widespread protests that brought down the government in Lebanon late February. The United Nations is mounting an international commission to probe the killing.