Middle East

Iraqi president in Germany for treatment

Jalal Talabani's condition "improving", doctors say, after he reportedly suffered a stroke.
Last Modified: 20 Dec 2012 10:38
Ailing Iraqi President Talabani has often mediated among Iraqi Shias, Sunnis and Kurds [AFP]

Iraqi President Jalal Talabani has arrived in Germany for further medical treatment after suffering a stroke earlier this week, German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said.

The ailing 79-year-old president was rushed to a Baghdad hospital late Monday. Several government officials have said Talabani suffered a stroke, though his office and doctors have released few details about the seriousness of his condition.

He appeared to be responding to treatment and showing signs of improvement by Wednesday, his doctors and other officials said.

Lawmaker Mahmoud Othman said that Talabani left Baghdad to Berlin early morning Thursday after a German medical team recommended the president be taken abroad for treatment.

It was unclear when or if the president would be able to return to his post.

Talabani has suffered from various health problems in recent years. In August 2008 he underwent successful heart surgery in the United States. In 2007, he was flown to neighbouring Jordan to be treated for dehydration and exhaustion.

The 79-year-old former guerilla has survived wars, exile and in-fighting in northern Iraq to become the country's first Kurdish president after the US-led 2003 invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein.

He has often mediated among Iraqi Shias, Sunnis and Kurds and between the Arab-led central government and the self-ruled Kurdish enclave.


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