Israel has rejected a speech by Syrian President Bashar Assad, in which he vowed to redeploy troops to the Lebanese border but fell short of a demand to pull his 15,000 troops out of Lebanon. "Israel demands a full implementation of UN Resolution 1559, meaning a complete withdrawal of all Syrian troops from Lebanon," said Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom. He said a Syrian pullout would “create an independent country, not a vassal state, and maybe in the near future...a greater understanding and maybe even peace with Israel." Shalom is heading for talks with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in Washington, where he'll lobby the US to rachet up the pressure on Syria. In addition to a pullout from Lebanon, Israel is demanding that Syria close down the offices of Palestinian terror groups based in Damascus.