Amman - Iraqi President Jalal Talabani
fell ill Sunday and was rushed unconscious to a hospital before being flown to
neighboring Jordan for an immediate medical checkup, medical and government
Iraq's President Jalal Talabani pauses after announcing new
security plans for the country in this Aug. 2, 2006 file photo, in the
fortified Green Zone area of Baghdad, Iraq. [AP]
Talabani's son, Qubad Talabani, said his father was suffering from fatigue
"He did not have a heart attack" or a stroke, he told CNN. He said his father
had "made his own way off the plane" when he landed in Jordan.
"He's absolutely up and about, being able to communicate," the president's
Iraq's ambassador to Jordan, Saad Al-Hayyani, told The Associated Press
Talabani had not suffered a heart attack or stroke.
A brief statement issued by Talabani's office said the 73-year-old president
had fallen ill because of "continuing hard work over the past few days," but
added there was "no cause for worry."
Talabani arrived at Amman's King Hussein Medical City in a motorcade flanked
by police cars. A doctor said earlier he would be admitted to the heart center
at the facility because it has sophisticated and modern equipment, not
necessarily because the president suffers from a heart ailment.
Several Arab leaders have been treated at the hospital in the past, including
the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.
"It appears that his medical condition is not worrisome" because he is not
being flown in by a helicopter or transported in an ambulance, the doctor said
on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to speak to the media.
A doctor in Sulaimaniyah, Talabani's hometown, told the AP that the president
was unconscious when an ambulance rushed him to a hospital there earlier Sunday.
"After his condition stabilized, the doctors advised him to go to Jordan for
a complete check up," the doctor said on condition of anonymity because he was
not authorized to release the information.
Talabani, a Kurd, appeared in public Saturday in Sulaimaniyah where he met
with US Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad and Massoud Barzani, leader of the
self-ruled Kurdish region in northern Iraq.
Senior Kurdish politician Barham Saleh said Talabani was on his feet when he
headed for a meeting Sunday with top aides shortly before he left for Jordan.
Saleh, a deputy prime minister, said members of Talabani's immediate family
accompanied him to Amman.
An official at Talabani's Patriotic Union of Kurdistan party said the
president has a long history of fainting when he is exhausted -- a
condition dating back to his years as a Kurdish guerrilla leader fighting Saddam
Hussein's regime decades ago.
The official also spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity
of the subject.
Under Iraq's interim constitution, the president serves as the country's
titular head of state. The prime minister runs the government.