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Netanyahu Suffers Flu, Cancels Trip

September 9, 1998

JERUSALEM (AP) _ Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu unexpectedly canceled a trip to the Georgian capital, Tbilisi, today because he was sick with the flu.

Reporters were already on Netanyahu’s plane at Ben-Gurion airport when his spokesman, Aviv Bushinsky, came aboard and told them the trip was off.

Netanyahu, who will be 50 next month, had cut short a marathon Cabinet discussion on next year’s state budget Tuesday night, because he felt unwell.

He was examined Tuesday night and again this morning by cardiologist Dr. Andre Keren, who diagnosed influenza with fever and muscular pains.

``The prime minister last night suffered from exhaustion. The source of the exhaustion was not clear. ... Today it became clear that he is suffering from influenza,″ Keren told army radio.

Bushinsky said Netanyahu had been told to rest at home for a few days.

Netanyahu was to have made the one-day visit to Tbilisi to participate in celebrations marking the 2,600th anniversary of the Jewish presence in Georgia.

Deputy Prime Minister Moshe Katsav will attend the celebration in Netanyahu’s place, along with Israel’s two chief rabbis, Bushinsky said. He said Netanyahu apologized for the cancellation in a telephone call to Georgian President Eduard Shevarnadze.

It was unclear whether Netanyahu would be well enough to meet U.S. envoy Dennis Ross on Thursday for talks on Israel’s long-delayed troop withdrawal from the West Bank.

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