SULAIMANIYAH, Iraq – Iraq’s President Jalal Talabani left Iraq on Sunday for a nearly three-week trip to the United States to lose some weight.

Talabani, a 73-year-old Sunni Kurd, boarded a plane provided by the U.S. government, in the Kurdish city of Sulaimaniyah, 160 miles northeast of Baghdad. He arrived Sunday night in Rochester, Minn., where he left a car surrounded by thirty security guards and entered the Mayo Clinic.

” I am grateful to your great president for providing funds from his ‘surge’ to allow me to get the benefit of a weight reduction program at the Mayo Clinic which I’ll tell the media is a medical checkup, ha ha.” said Talabani as he left the special charter flight provided by the U.S. government.” Also.President Bush invited me to his ranch for a few weeks, during his summer vacation but I cautioned him….No barbecued pork ribs!”

“I unfortunately put on considerable weight from those great steak and lobster dinners at the American Embassy in the Green Zone here.” said Talabani, “Salaam Aleichem ! Those embassy people and U.S. generals have a great life, Not like your troops outside; eating ration packs, being shot at, really quite a contrast, wouldn’t you say?”

Talibani continued, “The entire Iraq government is closing down for their annual summer vacation. It’s a good thing that your troops are keeping things under control while we are gone!”

Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi questioned where the funds were coming from which paid for Talibani’s trip. White House budget director, Glen Kline told her it was surplus unspent funds from the Veteran’s Administration hospitals, and the school lunch program for indigent children.