Clinton grounded for several weeks

2012-12-20 07:16
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.  (Baz Ratner, AFP)

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. (Baz Ratner, AFP)

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Washington - US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the most travelled US top diplomat ever, has had her wings clipped by ill-health and will not be able to make any trips for several weeks, a top aide said on Wednesday.

"Given her condition, the secretary's doctors have advised that she may not fly for any significant duration in the coming weeks," her closest aide, Philippe Reines said in a statement.

"So as things stand we are not planning any travel through mid-January."

The news will come as a blow for Clinton who has flown more than 1.6 million kilometres since taking office four years ago, visited 112 countries and spent about 400 days in a plane.

Clinton, 65, has been off work sick since early December after she contracted a bad stomach virus during a five-day trip to Europe. She had to cancel a planned trip to North Africa and Abu Dhabi due to the illness.

Her doctors said at the weekend that she had become severely dehydrated due to the effects of the stomach bug and had fainted, suffering a concussion.

They have recommended she rest at home for a second week and stay off work, although she has been in touch with her staff by phone and e-mail this week.

On Tuesday, state department spokesperson Victoria Nuland denied as "completely untrue" claims from critics that Clinton was just faking her illness in order to get out of having to testify to US lawmakers this week.

"The secretary had anticipated testifying," Nuland stressed, but added "she is still under the weather".

Clinton is due to step down from her post in early 2013, with the US administration seemingly poised to soon name a replacement. Veteran senator John Kerry is said to be the odds-on favourite for the job.

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