WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will not attend international meetings in Italy and Greece this week because of an injury to her arm, the U.S. State Department said on Monday.
The top U.S. diplomat had surgery on Friday to repair her right elbow, which she broke on Wednesday when she tripped and fell in the State Department’s basement.
Clinton was to travel to Trieste, Italy for a Group of Eight foreign ministers meeting and to the Greek island of Corfu, where she was to take part in an Organization for Security and Cooperation gathering and meet Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov during a NATO-Russia meeting.
Clinton decided to skip the meetings on the advice of her doctor, State Department spokesman Ian Kelly told reporters, adding that she had come to the department on Monday and was “on top of her game” despite wearing a cast and sling.
“The secretary is doing better. She successfully came through her surgery. She was able to come by and visit with us in the department this morning ... but she does have a road to travel in terms of her recovery and rehabilitation,” U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Jim Steinberg said at a news conference with Georgian Foreign Minister Grigol Vashadze.
Undersecretary of State William Burns will represent the United States at the G8 discussions in Trieste.
U.S. special representative Richard Holbrooke will also be in Trieste to take part in talks on Afghanistan and Pakistan, where the Obama administration is trying to defeat al Qaeda and Taliban insurgencies.
U.S. special envoy George Mitchell, who helped end the Northern Ireland conflict, will also be in Trieste for talks on Israeli-Palestinian peace, including a planned meeting of the Middle East peace mediators that groups the European Union, Russia, the United Nations and the United States.
Steinberg will take Clinton’s place in Corfu for the OSCE gathering and for the NATO-Russia ministerial meeting, the first to be held since last year’s war in Georgia.
Russia pulled out of a ministerial meeting with NATO planned for May because of the alliance’s expulsion of two of Moscow’s diplomats in a spy scandal. NATO has previously said such meetings are hard to arrange given Clinton and Lavrov’s packed schedules.
Asked about the Corfu NATO-Russia ministerial, NATO spokesman James Appathurai said: “We continue to plan for the meeting to ... be held as scheduled.”
Editing by Paul Simao