WASHINGTON – President Bush on Thursday will meet at the White House with Iraqi President Jalal Talabani, who is on a nearly three-week trip to the United States that includes a stop for medical treatment.
Bush, meanwhile, spoke by secure video conference on Wednesday with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and Iraq's two vice presidents, Tariq al-Hashimi and Adel Abdul-Mahdi. In the 40-minute call, the leaders talked about combatting violence and making progress toward political and economic reconciliation, White House press secretary Tony Snow said.
"There was gratitude for America's continued support," said Snow, who also announced Talabani's visit.
Talabani left Iraq on Sunday for his visit to the United States. He arrived Sunday night in Rochester, Minn., where he left a car surrounded by several security guards and entered the Mayo Clinic, local television showed.
Azad Jindyani, spokesman of Talabani's Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, has denied the president has health problems. "Talabani's health is very good, but he felt tired recently ... because of the work and meetings," he said.
Said Snow: "Apparently, he's getting better, because he's obviously been able to leave the Mayo Clinic and at least travel to Washington."