AMMAN, Jordan (AP) – Iraqi President Jalal Talabani said he was in good health after collapsing last weekend and would be returning home, although he gave no date. “I enjoy good health, despite the rumors you’ve heard,” Talabani, 73, told AP Television News on Thursday at King Hussein Medical Center in the Jordanian capital of Amman. “God willing, I will return safe and in a very good health to my country to continue my task with the Iraqi people,” he said in his first interview since he fell ill.
Talabani collapsed Sunday in northern Iraq, suffering from exhaustion and dehydration caused by lung and sinus infections. He was flown to Jordan for treatment later that day.
Rumors that he had suffered a heart attack were denied by his doctor and spokesman. His personal physician, Dr. Yedgar Hishmat, said earlier that Talabani was in “very good health and recovering rapidly.” “He is in a convalescence phase, but he still needs to finish his antibiotic course and is expected to leave the hospital within days,” said Hishmat, who accompanied Talabani from Iraq.
Talabani said his illness had perhaps been useful because it ensured that he received a full medical checkup. He vowed to continue working for “a new, free, democratic, federal and united Iraq.”