Last updated: 19 February, 2013

Iraqi president responding to stroke treatment

Iraqi President Jalal Talabani, who is being treated in Germany after suffering a stroke, is “very stable” and “making progress,” his doctor said on Tuesday.

“His health is good, he’s very stable, he’s making progress,” Najm al-Din Karim, who is also the governor of Iraq’s Kirkuk province, told AFP, adding that “his team is very optimistic about the outcome.”

Talabani, 79, travelled to Germany in December after what state television reported was a stroke, the latest in a series of health problems he has suffered in recent years.

His health has major political implications in Iraq, where he has sought to bring together various feuding politicians, Sunni and Shiite Muslims, and Arabs and Kurds.

Talabani, who was born in November 1933, underwent successful heart surgery in the United States in August 2008. The previous year, he was evacuated to neighbouring Jordan for treatment for dehydration and exhaustion.

He has also travelled to clinics in Europe in the past for treatment for a variety of ailments.