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Iraqi president Jalal Talabani recovering from his stroke, doctors say

Talabani is beginning to be able to speak after suffering a stroke in December.

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Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki meets with Iraqi President Jalal Talabani (R) at the latter’s home, north of the Kurdish city of Sulaimaniyah to discuss differences between the Baghdad government and the Kurdistan Regional Government on September 19, 2012. (Shwan Mohammed/AFP/Getty Images)

Iraqi president Jalal Talabani is beginning to be able to speak after suffering a stroke in December, his doctors said Sunday. 

"He's improving," said Dr. Najmaldin Karim, a neurosurgeon who is overseeing Talabani's recovery. "He's talking. He's conversing. He understands when he's spoken to. It's a good development. We're very encouraged and excited by this."

The president is currently in Germany for treatment, the Associated Press reported

Dr. Karim said that he hopes the president will return home "relatively soon," and is in touch with Talabani's medical team in Berlin daily, Reuters reported

The 79-year-old leader suffered a stroke December 17, though there has been little information released about his condition or his ability to return to his post, prompting intense speculation amongst Iraqis, according to the AP. 

Talabani is seen as a peacemaker in Iraq, though the role of the president is a mostly ceremonial one. 

More from GlobalPost: Iraq president Jalal Talabani in coma following stroke: report

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/middle-east/iraq/130224/iraqi-president-jalal-talabani-recovering-stroke