Africa

Tillerson in Africa: US diplomat 'feeling unwell', cancels Kenya plans

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson looks on during a press conference on March 9, 2018 in Nairobi, following his arrival to Kenya from Ethiopia, on his five-nation tour of Africa. Image copyright AFP

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has cancelled scheduled events in Kenya on Saturday because he is feeling poorly.

"The secretary is not feeling well after a long couple days working on major issues back home such as North Korea," the state department said.

Mr Tillerson, on his first official trip to Africa as Washington's top diplomat, is in Kenya until Monday.

The news came a day after US President Trump shocked the world, agreeing to meet North Korea's Kim Jong-un by May.

Officials accompanying Mr Tillerson, 65, on his five-nation tour of Africa did not specify his illness but it is understood not to be serious.

Mr Tillerson was in the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa when news of Donald Trump's agreement to meet Mr Kim in unprecedented talks broke late on Thursday.

The decision is reported to have been taken without consultation with key advisers, including Mr Tillerson.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption Rex Tillerson (l) met with Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta (r) after his arrival on Friday

The top US envoy had told reporters just hours before the surprise announcement that Washington was "a long way" from talking directly to North Korea.

The US secretary of state has been on the road for four days, visiting Ethiopia, Djibouti and Kenya. He is scheduled to go on to Nigeria and Chad.

"Some events will go ahead without him, while they are looking at the possibility of rescheduling others," spokesperson Steve Goldstein told reporters travelling with Mr Tillerson.

His planned schedule on Saturday had included a visit to a US-funded HIV/AIDS programme and attendance at a ceremony marking 20 years since Al-Qaeda bombed the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, killing 224 people.

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