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Iraqi President Shows Signs of Improvement

Dr. Essam Namiq, center, deputy Health Minister speaks as Dr. Hani Moussa, left, head of the Iraqi medical team supervising treatment of Iraqi president Jalal Talabani, and Iraq Presidential spokesman listen, Dec. 19, 2012.
Iraqi officials say President Jalal Talabani is responding to treatment and showing signs of improvement Wednesday, after being hospitalized for a stroke.

The president, 79, was taken to a Baghdad hospital late Monday and given treatment for blocked arteries. By Tuesday, officials said he was in stable condition.

The president's role in Iraq is largely ceremonial, but Talabani, an ethnic Kurd, has used his position to mediate disputes among the country's various ethnic and religious groups.

Talabani has dealt with several health problems in recent years. In 2008, he underwent heart surgery in the United States. He made a 2007 visit to a U.S. clinic for weight loss treatment, and the same year spent more than two weeks in Jordan receiving treatment for exhaustion and dehydration.

Some information for this report provided by AFP and Reuters.