Palestinian president undergoes heart tests

RAMALLAH, West Bank (Reuters) – Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas underwent heart tests in a Jordanian hospital on Thursday, a spokesman said, describing his condition as good.

“President Abbas has had some tests carried out in a hospital in Amman, including cardiac catheterization,” spokesman Nabil Abu Rdainah said.

“He is in good health. All his tests are OK. He will be back in (the West Bank city of) Ramallah tomorrow,” Abu Rdainah said about the 73-year-old leader.

Cardiac catheterization is a diagnostic procedure in which a long thin tube called a catheter is placed in a blood vessel and then guided to the heart.

The procedure enables doctors to see how the heart and its blood vessels are functioning and to determine whether there are any blockages.

Three years ago, Abbas, a heavy smoker, underwent in an Amman hospital a heart procedure known as angioplasty to open clogged arteries.

Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert relaunched peace talks last November at a U.S.-hosted international conference in Annapolis, Maryland. Washington hopes a statehood deal can be reached by the end of the year.

The two leaders are due to hold talks on Saturday and Sunday with U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who will be making her fourth visit to Israel and the Palestinian territories since the Annapolis conference.

Olmert said in October that he has prostate cancer in its early stages and would have surgery, but that an operation was not urgent.

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