It's Official: Olmert Resigns

Ad Feedback - JERUSALEM, Israel - After 33 months in office, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert submitted his resignation Sunday evening to President Shimon Peres.

Olmert arrived at the president's residence in good spirits, after his 6:00 p.m. meeting with newly elected Kadima party chairwoman Tzipi Livni, which his staff described as "excellent."

Earlier in the day, Israeli media reports indicated that Olmert would wait until after Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, on October 2, to submit his letter of resignation, but apparently he changed his mind.

Immediately following Olmert's visit, Peres read a prepared statement to reporters:

"I respect the dignified manner in which [Olmert] is transferring authority. This is not an easy decision, and I am sure it was not a simple thing for him to do," Peres read, thanking the outgoing prime minister "for his service to the nation and the state during many years of public activity, as mayor of Jerusalem, government minister and prime minister."

During Sunday's Cabinet meeting, Olmert told ministers that he would do everything within his power to help Livni form a new coalition.

Olmert remains head of a caretaker government, while Livni tries to put together a new coalition, a process she began immediately after the Kadima primaries, before she was officially tasked by the president.

Meanwhile, Olmert said he intends to pursue negotiations with the Palestinian Authority (PA) and will be prepared to submit a peace deal to the Cabinet and Knesset.

Source: Haaretz

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