Iraqi president in Germany for medical treatment

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BAGHDAD — Iraqi President Jalal Talabani arrived in Germany today for further medical treatment after suffering a stroke, leaving Baghdad without an influential mediator able to bridge the country’s complex ethnic and sectarian rifts.

The ailing 79-year-old president was rushed to a hospital in the Iraqi capital late Monday because of what was described as a medical emergency.

Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari said today that doctors have determined the president had a “very serious stroke,” and that he is showing signs of improvement.

Vice President Khudier al-Khuzaie will assume Talabani’s duties during his absence, Zebari said.

Iraq’s parliament has the authority to choose a new president should Talabani’s office become vacant.

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