APN News

  • Tuesday, April, 2024| Today's Market | Current Time: 10:43:27
  • Iraq president to return from 18-month medical exile

    Published on July 18, 2014

    Iraqi President Jalal Talabani, who has been in Germany for medical treatment since December 2012, Iraqi President Jalal Talabaniwill return home on Saturday, his party said in a statement.

    “President Talabani is coming home on Saturday July 19 after receiving successful health treatment in brotherly Germany,” the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan statement said today.

    “He is going to resume his duties as president of the Republic of Iraq,” the PUK said.

    His son Qubad Talabani, who is also deputy prime minister of the autonomous Kurdistan Regional Government, confirmed his 80-year-old father’s homecoming.

    “President Talabani will return to Iraq tomorrow. I congratulate the people on his improved health and on his return,” he told the news agency.

    Talabani has been Iraq’s head of state since 2005, as part of an unofficial power-sharing deal reserving the post of president for the Kurds.

    His return comes as Iraq is in the grips of its worst crisis in years, with jihadist-led Sunni militants controlling large swathes of the country’s west and north.

    Recent weeks have also seen escalating tensions between the Shiite-dominated government of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki and Talabani’s old rival Massud Barzani, the president of the autonomous Kurdish region.

    Kurdish peshmerga forces seized long-disputed territory when federal forces withdrew in the face of the militant onslaught launched on June 9.

    The move significantly expanded the area under Kurdish control to include the key city of Kirkuk, which many Kurds see as an important part of their statehood dream, and several oilfields.

    Maliki has accused the Kurds of undermining national unity, taking advantage of the Islamic State jihadist group’s offensive and even of harbouring some its operatives.

    Talabani has long struggled with various health problems, and recent years saw him make frequent trips to the United States and Europe.

    He was flown to Germany in December 2012 after suffering a stroke and his ability to ever return to Iraq had been in doubt.


    Leave a Reply