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Israeli president rape charges spurred by Lebanon war: Putin (AFP) AGENCE FRANCE PRESSE) MOSCOW, RUSSIA 10/25/06 12:56 PM ET) Source: http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20061025/wl_mideast_afp/israelpoliticskatsavsexscandal_061025165656
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MOSCOW (AFP) - Rape charges against Israeli President Moshe Katsav are motivated by an anti-government campaign fueled by Israelīs "defeat" in its conflict with Lebanon, President Vladimir Putin said.
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Putin suggested on Wednesday that accusations of corruption against senior Israeli figures and rape charges against Katsav reflected a desire to punish the government for its conduct in the July-August war.
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"Many see the events as a defeat and all at once attacks started on the prime minister, and the president, and the chief of staff (of the armed forces)," Putin said during a live, televised link-up with Russians.
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"To use such instruments such as defence of womenīs rights in order to resolve political questions that bear no relation is absolutely impermissible, because this discredits the task of fighting for womenīs rights," Putin said.
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Putin also referred to his controversial comments on Katsavīs alleged rape of numerous women made during a visit to Moscow last week by Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.
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Putin was heard by journalists in the Kremlin asking Olmert to tell Katsav: "Say hello to your president -- he really surprised us."
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One Russian newspaper quoted him as describing Katsav as "mighty."
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On Wednesday, Putin said he "did indeed address this issue," but "journalists were leaving the room and heard something and began to have ideas." (Copyright Đ 2006 Agence France Presse 10/25/06)
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