VATICAN CITY, FEB. 28, 2005 ( Four days after undergoing a tracheotomy, John Paul II is recovering normally and has begun respiratory exercises, says a Vatican spokesman.

In a brief written communiqué, Joaquín Navarro Valls, director of the Vatican press office, said that the Pope's medical condition is generally good.

"The Holy Father's post-operative phase is taking place without complications," stated the spokesman in his note. "His general condition and biological parameters continue to be good."

"The Holy Father is eating regularly, spends some hours in an armchair and has begun exercises to rehabilitate breathing and phonation," added the statement.

Navarro Valls said the next scheduled medical report would be on Thursday.

John Paul II appeared unexpectedly at his 10th-floor hospital window on Sunday and gave blessings to those keeping watch outside the Gemelli Polyclinic.

Last Thursday he underwent a tracheotomy to ease his breathing, owing to complications of the flu. He was hospitalized earlier in the month for complications from the flu.

The Vatican press statement did not speculate on how long the Pope would be in the hospital.

Today, in the newspaper La Repubblica, Cardinal Javier Lozano Barragán, president of the Pontifical Council for Health Care Workers, said: "In these cases, prudence is never exaggerated."