Israel's Livni says Olmert's health "under control"

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BEIJING, Oct 30 (Reuters) Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's medical condition is ''under control'', Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, who is also vice prime minister, said today during a visit to China.

Olmert yesterday announced that he had prostate cancer needing minor surgery in coming months but said he was fit to govern as he works toward peace talks with the Palestinians.

''I spoke with Prime Minister Olmert while I was here, and of course we all wish him, and I personally wish him, good health, and this is something that is under control, and basically we are working together,'' Livni told a news conference in Beijing, where she had been holding talks with Chinese officials.

''He is prime minister and I am foreign minister, and that is the story.'' Olmert, 62, said doctors had discovered a ''microscopic'' growth in his prostate gland during an annual check-up last week.

Olmert, who has clung to office in the face of massive criticism of his conduct of last year's war in Lebanon and of repeated allegations of corruption, is now engaged in US-backed talks with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

A member of Olmert's Kadima party, Livni is widely seen as a frontrunner to replace him.

In May, she publicly called for Olmert to step down following the release of an official report sharply criticising his handling of the Lebanese war.

REUTERS SG RK1557

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