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Israel and Jordan Reject Assad Speech

Israel and Jordan have rejected the speech by Syrian President Bashar Assad, who said he will move his country's troops in Lebanon to the country's eastern region, to be followed by a withdrawal to the Syrian-Lebanese border. The two neighboring countries say Syria has to do much more.

Israel is accusing Syrian President Assad of evading international demands to pull out of Lebanon. Officials say Assad's redeployment of forces in Lebanon is a tactic aimed at diverting criticism while maintaining the Syrian occupation.

Israeli Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom said Israel demands a complete Syrian withdrawal from Lebanon in compliance with UN resolutions. He added that a pullout could clear the way to a future peace between Israel and Lebanon.

President Assad, in his speech to parliament, did not mention a timetable for withdrawal, and he did not clarify on which side of the border the troops would remain after the pullback.

Mr. Shalom spoke at a news conference in Jerusalem with Jordanian Foreign Minister Hani Mulki, who also demanded a complete Syrian withdrawal from Lebanon. Mr. Mulki said the world's demands are not a condition that Syria can bargain with.