Olmert has health problem, to stay in office -radio

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JERUSALEM, Oct 29 (Reuters) Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert called a surprise news conference for noon (1530 IST) today to address a health problem but public broadcaster Israel Radio said Olmert would not step down.

Political sources told Reuters the news conference would be on the prime minister's health and one source said the ailment was ''not too serious''. Israel Radio said Olmert would announce he would stay in office despite the condition.

''This is not a matter for a major government shake-up or for Olmert taking a leave of absence,'' the broadcaster said.

Israel's Channel 10 television said the news conference may address a skin ailment that was recently discovered.

Olmert's office had no comment other than to say the subject of the news conference would be ''non-political''.

Olmert, 62, was propelled to power when his party ally Ariel Sharon was felled by a stroke in early 2006. His administration has been dogged by corruption scandals as well as the fall-out from last year's inconclusive Lebanon war.

He has engaged in talks with the Palestinians about a peace conference to be held later this year in the United States, but he faces opposition within his own broad coalition cabinet to making concessions to the Palestinian leadership.

The prime minister is a keen runner and fitness fanatic.

REUTERS SKB KN1514

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