Tillerson Falls Ill Ahead Of Visit To Nigeria

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson cancelled scheduled events on Saturday on the second day of a visit to Kenya because “he is not feeling well”, a State Department spokesman said.

“The secretary is not feeling well after a long couple days working on major issues back home such as North Korea and has canceled his events for the day,” spokesman Steve Goldstein said.

The announcement comes little more than 24 hours after US President Donald Trump stunned the world by accepting an invitation to meet North Korea’s Kim Jong Un before the end of May.

Tillerson is on four days into his first diplomatic trip to Africa, where he has visited Ethiopia, Djibouti and Kenya.

He is also scheduled to visit Chad and Nigeria, where he will meet with President Muhammadu Buhari.

“The secretary is not feeling well after a long couple days working on major issues back home such as North Korea and has canceled his events for the day,” Reuters quotes Steve Goldstein, US state department spokesman, as saying.

“Some events will go ahead without him, while they are looking at the possibility of rescheduling others.”

Goldstein later said the secretary’s health had improved and he “will resume his normal schedule tomorrow (Sunday)”.

The audacious diplomatic gambit, which was taken before consulting key confidantes including Tillerson — who was in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa at the time — left aides scrambling to catch up.

Just hours before the summit announcement, which emerged late on Thursday, Tillerson had said Washington was “a long way” from talking directly to North Korea as he kicked off his five-nation Africa tour.

The US diplomat, who arrived in Nairobi on Friday, had been due to visit the AIDS-relief programme PEPFAR on Saturday and also attend a ceremony marking 20 years since Al-Qaeda bombed the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, killing 224 people.

Plans to lay a wreath at the site could be rescheduled, Goldstein said.