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Yeltsin May Visit Bethlehem

November 11, 1999

MOSCOW (AP) _ Russian President Boris Yeltsin may visit Bethlehem on Jan. 7 to mark Orthodox Christmas, the Interfax news agency reported Thursday.

Presidential aide Andrei Loginov said Yeltsin received invitations from the Orthodox patriarch of Jerusalem and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat to attend the celebrations, the agency said. Bethlehem is Palestinian-controlled.

According to the Russian Orthodox Church’s liturgical calendar, Christmas falls on Jan. 7.

Yeltsin, 68, has been plagued by health problems, including pneumonia, bronchitis and heart trouble, for much of his second term. He has traveled abroad far less frequently in recent years.

The president is now taking a few days of vacation at his Gorky-9 residence outside Moscow. He is scheduled to attend next week’s two-day summit of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe in Istanbul, Turkey.

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