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Israel

Israel's foreign minister resigns after indictment

Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman has resigned after being charged with fraud and breach of trust. It remains unclear if Lieberman can stand in the Jan. 22 general election.

"I have decided to resign my post as foreign minister and deputy prime minister and... also to remove my [parliamentary] immunity forthwith so I can end this matter quickly, without delay and clear my name absolutely," Lieberman said in an emailed statement on Friday.

The announcement came one day after Israel's attorney general had indicted Lieberman for alleged breach of trust, but had dropped more serious allegations against him including fraud and money-laundering.

Lieberman is being charged for allegedly receiving classified information from a former ambassador to Belarus on an investigation against him. Lieberman has maintained he is innocent.

It remains unclear whether he can still stand in the Jan. 22 general electionm, but he confirmed on Saturday he would attempt to run.

A coalition between Lieberman's right-wing party Yisrael Beiteinu (Our Home is Israel) and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud Party has been predicted to win by opinion polls.

Without Lieberman on the bill, some pollsters believe the coaltion group will lose support.

An official in the prime minister's office said Netanyahu would serve as acting foreign minister until the election.

hc/kms (Reuters, AFP, dpa)