Tillerson feeling better after illness in Kenya on first African trip Updated for 2021


Updated: March 1, 2021

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is feeling much better after a sickness kept him away from scheduled events in Kenya on Saturday. He would resume his normal schedule on Sunday, the State Department said.

“The Secretary is feeling better and will resume his normal schedule tomorrow,” Undersecretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Steve Goldstein told the pool reporters traveling with the secretary, according to CNN.

Some of the events he was scheduled to attend on Saturday have been rescheduled, the official added.


Tillerson fell ill in Kenya on Saturday and canceled scheduled events there. It was not clear whether he would be able to make it to Nigeria and Chad as scheduled.

Mr. Tillerson is on his first official trip to Africa since President Donald Trump appointed him last year. He had visited Ethiopia, Djibouti and Kenya on this trip but felt ill on Saturday, officials said.


“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, according to the BBC.

Reports had repeatedly said Mr. Tillerson, who is not often consulted by President Trump on issues that should normally involve diplomacy, was on the brink of resigning. But he had defied all predictions and remained in office.


The news of Mr. Tillerson falling sick in Kenya came after President Trump surprised everyone, announcing that he had accepted an invitation to meet with Kim Jong-un. Mr. Tillerson was in Ethiopia when news broke out that President Trump would meet with the North  Korean leader. He was not consulted, according to reports.

It was not clear whether the announcement had anything to do with his illness as the decision was reported to have been taken without consultation with key advisers, including Mr. Tillerson.


Tillerson had told reporters just hours before the surprise announcement that Washington was “a long way” from talking directly to North Korea, BBC said.

“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.

On Saturday, Mr. Tillerson was to visit 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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Simon Ateba
Simon Ateba
Simon Ateba covers the White House, the U.S. government, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and other financial and international institutions for Today News Africa in Washington D.C. Simon can be reached on simonateba@todaynewsafrica.com


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