Tillerson cancels Saturday events on African trip over illness

By Sommer Brokaw  |  March 10, 2018 at 11:11 AM
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March 10 (UPI) -- U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson canceled his public appearances Saturday in Kenya due to an illness.

During Tillerson's five-country tour, he had missed two days of sleep "working on North Korea and other issues," and was getting some rest at the hotel, but the trip wouldn't be cut short, Undersecretary of State Steve Goldstein said.

His schedule for Saturday would have included a visit to the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS relief and a wreath-laying at the American Embassy in downtown Nairobi, where hundreds of people died in the U.S. embassy attacks 20 years ago. Goldstein said the wreath-laying event would be rescheduled and other officials would go in Tillerson's place to the AIDS relief event.

Tillerson was visiting Kenya as his latest stop in a week-long tour of five countries in Africa. His trip started in Ethiopia, home of the African Union, on Wednesday.

At a news conference in Ethiopia, Tillerson was asked about President Donald Trump's remarks that Africa was filled with "shithole countries."

"The United States commitment to Africa is quite clear in terms of the importance we place on the relationship," Tillerson told reporters.

In the midst of his trip, there were some major announcements about U.S. foreign policy, including Thursday's disclosure that Trump may meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

Trump also signed a proclamation Thursday imposing tariffs on aluminum and steel imports to the U.S.

"He's been dealing with all these issues in real time," Goldstein said of Tillerson.

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