The office of Iraq's ailing president says he is making progress in a German hospital recovering from a stroke last month.

A brief statement Saturday described the health situation of Jalal Talabani as "reassuring" and says his medical team has started rehabilitation. It did not give more details on his condition.

Talabani, a 79-year-old senior Kurdish leader, was flown to Germany for treatment more than two weeks ago.

The statement was responding to a late Friday report in the French newspaper Le Figaro that described the president as "clinically dead." Talabani's office described the report as "totally baseless."

The president's illness has injected more uncertainty into the country's political future, as unrest grows in Iraq's Sunni areas over detainees held by the Shiite-led government.