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Who is President Jalal Talabani?

The Iraqi President Jalal Talabani is being treated in hospital for an unspecified health problem. Here are some facts about his rise to prominence:

  • A veteran of the guerilla movement for Kurdish independence
  • Founder of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan - one of two political parties in Iraq's Kurdish region
  • Helped to negotiate Iraq's interim constitution after the 2003 Iraq War
  • The presidency is largely ceremonial, but Talibani has used it to mediate in ethnic and sectarian conflicts

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