Olmert to seek Palestinian deal before leaving: officials

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Prime Minister Ehud Olmert will try to reach an agreement in peace talks with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas before a new Israeli government takes office, an official close to Olmert said on Thursday.

Olmert announced on Wednesday that he would not run in his centrist Kadima party’s September 17 leadership contest and would resign to allow his successor to form a new government. Until then, Olmert would remain caretaker prime minister, enabling him to push ahead with the peace talks, possibly for months.

The official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Olmert intended on “reaching agreement with the Palestinians during the time he has left”.

“Any agreement he reaches with the Palestinians won’t be a personal agreement and he will make sure that the (new) Kadima leadership is briefed and on board,” the official added.

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