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Croatia's president said to be seriously ill with cancer


Tudjman in U.S. for treatment

November 15, 1996
Web posted at: 5:45 p.m. EST (1045 GMT)

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Croatian President Franjo Tudjman, a key player in the Bosnian peace accords, is seriously ill with cancer and was secretly admitted to the Walter Reed Army Medical Center within the past day, U.S. government sources told CNN Friday.

The type of cancer was not immediately clear, and it was not known what Tudjman's condition was or what the treatment would be, the sources told CNN. Tudjman was described by sources as "very ill."

After CNN's initial report was broadcast Friday, the president's office in Zagreb issued a statement saying Tudjman, 74, sought treatment at Walter Reed, in suburban Washington, after having a checkup at home.

"After undergoing tests it has been concluded that the problems were caused by an ulcer and the enlargement of the stomach lymph nodes," said the statement, which was signed by Tudjman's personal physicians, Dr. Branimir Jaksic and Dr. Stjepan Krancevic.

"The President is feeling fine and is performing all of his duties and is returning home at the end of next week."

The statement made no mention of cancer.

Earlier, a senior Croatian diplomat in Washington denied that Tudjman was in Washington. "If he were here, we would know. He is not here," the Croatian official said.

CNN's Steve Hurst reports on Tudjman's condition
Hurst icon "Line of succession unclear. . ."
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Recent medical checkup

However, the diplomat confirmed published reports earlier this week that Tudjman underwent a medical checkup in the Croatian capital of Zagreb two days ago. But the official declined to discuss the outcome of that checkup.

A spokesperson at Walter Reed hospital said their policy was not to comment on patients being treated there.

Influence in Bosnia

Tudjman has played a prominent role in the tumult surrounding the collapse of former Yugoslavia and the negotiation of the so-called Dayton peace accords on Bosnia, signed a year ago.

Elected president of Croatia in 1990, Tudjman was the "most reasonable" of the leaders involved in the Dayton agreement, U.S. Secretary of State Warren Christopher has said. The Croatian leader continues to exercise considerable influence both there and in Bosnia.

Correspondents Frank Sesno, Ralph Begleiter, Steve Hurst andReuters contributed to this report.


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