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Interim Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is to discuss bilateral
Interim Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is to discuss bilateral ties with Russia and regional security, including Russian arms supplies to the Middle East, during a visit to Moscow that starts on Monday.

Olmert's two-day visit is taking place despite his resignation amid corruption allegations on September 21. The Israeli politician has also been replaced by Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, 50, as the leader of Israel's ruling party.

"We will discuss a wide range of issues, including those that cause deep concern and require immediate action," Olmert, 62, told a cabinet meeting on Sunday, referring to "arms supplies to irresponsible elements" and the Iranian "nuclear problem," in which Russia "plays a special role."

Russia has almost finished building the Islamic Republic's first nuclear power plant at Bushehr in the south of Iran.

Israel's Defense Ministry has been worried by reports of Russian plans to supply guided missile systems to Iran, the Israeli media said, referring to high-ranking sources in Jerusalem.

Olmert will stress to Moscow that the deal would destroy the strategic military balance in the Middle East, the Haaretz newspaper said on Sunday.

He also brings a long-awaited gift to Moscow - an Israeli government resolution to return to Russia ownership of Jerusalem's Sergei Courtyard. The decision, made on Sunday, ends a long struggle for the return of the two-storey building, built in 1890 to house Russian pilgrims visiting the Holy Land.


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