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Ehud Olmert, Israel's interim prime minister, will arrive in Russia
Ehud Olmert, Israel's interim prime minister, will arrive in Russia for a two-day working visit on the invitation of President Dmitry Medvedev on Monday, the Kremlin said on Thursday.

Olmert, 62, resigned on September 21 amid corruption allegations, and was replaced by Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, 50, as the ruling party's leader last week.

Russia, as a member of the quartet of Mideast mediators, has been playing an active role in the peace process. The quartet - the United States, Russia, the European Union and the United Nations - has agreed to hold a Mideast conference in Moscow in spring 2009. The conference is seen as a follow-up to last November's U.S.-sponsored meeting in Annapolis, Maryland.

Since resigning, Olmert has said Israel will have to cede almost all territories occupied in the 1967 war to achieve peace with the Palestinians. In an interview with an Israeli paper published earlier this week, he said: "We should quit almost all territories, including East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights."

Omert had first announced his intention to resign on July 30, as pressure mounted over a corruption probe. The premier faces criminal charges for allegedly accepting large bribes from a Jewish-American businessman. On September 6, police recommended that criminal charges should be brought against the premier.

Olmert, who succeeded Ariel Sharon in April 2006 after the former premier's stroke, saw his popularity plummet after the costly 2006 Israel-Lebanon war. While devastating Lebanon, Israel failed in its goal of preventing attacks from militant group Hezbollah.


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