Iraqs President Talabani to go to Germany for treatment

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Iraq’s ailing President Jalal Talabani will be transferred to Germany on Thursday for further treatment after an emergency that saw him hospitalized in Baghdad, according to Al Arabiya’s correspondent.

“The president’s condition is improving, and he will be transferred to a hospital in Germany tomorrow,” Najm al-Din Karim, one of Talabani’s doctors, told AFP.

Barzan Sheikh Othman, the top media official in Talabani’s office, said teams of doctors from Iraq, Germany and Britain decided that the president should be transferred to Germany to receive further treatment.

The news comes after media officials said earlier on Wednesday that Talabani was responding well to treatment in a Baghdad hospital, two days after suffering a stroke.

The elderly Kurdish statesman was admitted to hospital on Monday night after suffering a form of stroke and was in intensive care with a team of specialists including some doctors from Germany, where he received treatment in the past.

His sudden illness prompted questions about Talabani’s exit from politics where he has been a key mediator among Shiite, Sunni, and Kurds and helped ease tensions in the growing dispute over oil between Baghdad and the country’s autonomous Kurdistan.

A 79-year-old former guerrilla who spent years fighting for Kurdish rights, Talabani survived wars, exile and infighting in northern Iraq to become the country’s first Kurdish president a few years after the 2003 invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein.

He has since been pivotal in navigating through the political turmoil that often erupts in Iraq’s fragile power-sharing government, split among Shiite Muslims, Sunni Muslims and ethnic Kurds.

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