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Iraqi President Talabani suffers stroke

By The Associated Press

This article was published December 18, 2012 at 7:51 a.m.

— Iraqi President Jalal Talabani has been hospitalized in Baghdad after suffering a stroke and is in stable condition, a spokesman for the prime minister said Tuesday.

The development injected new uncertainty into the country’s political future, a year after the U.S. military left. The seriousness of the stroke is unclear.

Although his political powers are limited, Talabani, 79, is respected by many Iraqis as a rare unifying figure able to rise above the ethnic and sectarian rifts that still divide the country. Known for his joking manner and walruslike moustache, Talabani has been actively involved in trying to mediate an ongoing crisis between Iraq’s central government and the country’s Kurdish minority, from which he hails.

Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has visited the hospital where Talabani is being treated, his spokesman, Ali al-Moussawi said Tuesday.

Iraqi state TV also reported that the president has had a stroke.

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