Iraq’s President Jalal Talabani hospitalized

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Baghdad: Iraqi President Jalal Talabani, a Kurd who has been a key player in mediating during the country’s political crisis, was hospitalized in Baghdad because of a “health emergency” late Monday night, his office said.

Talabani’s office gave no details, but the elderly leader has been suffering from ill health this year and has received medical treatment overseas several times in last two years.

“A specialized medical team is taking care of him and a report will be issued later,” the statement from the presidential office said.

A veteran of the Kurdish guerrilla movement, Talabani survived wars, exile and in-fighting in northern Iraq to become the country’s first ever Kurdish president a few years after the 2003 invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein.

Talabani has often negotiated amoung fractious Shi’ite, Sunni and Kurdish parties in Iraq’s fragile power-sharing government, including during a recent attempt to push a vote of no confidence against Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki.

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