WASHINGTON: Outgoing US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who fell ill in early December and hasn’t been seen in public since, will be back at her desk on Monday, her closest aide said on Thursday.
“She’s recuperating at home,” and will take up her official duties again “next week” Philippe Reines wrote in brief email to AFP when asked about the health of Washington’s most travelled top diplomat.
Clinton, 65, has been off work sick since her return from her last trip on Dec.7, although her staff says she has been working from home.
Her lengthy absence from public life has sparked claims from some of her fiercer critics that she is trying to avoid testifying in a congressional investigation into a deadly attack on a US consulate in Libya.
The State Department said Clinton had contracted a bad stomach virus during her five-day stay in Europe. She had to cancel a planned trip to North Africa and Abu Dhabi due to the illness.
A week later Clinton’s doctors said she had become severely dehydrated due to the effects of the stomach bug and had fainted, suffering a concussion.
They recommended she rest at home and avoid, through mid-January, the high-intensity travel she had been accustomed to taking as secretary of state.
Clinton has flown almost a million miles since taking office four years ago, visited 112 countries and spent some 400 days in a plane.
Her health kept her from testifying on Dec.20 to US lawmakers about the attack on the US consulate in Benghazi, Libya, on Sept.11.
The assault, in which the US ambassador and three other US officials were killed, sparked a political firestorm in the US, and Republicans criticised Clinton’s absence last week, calling on her to testify in January.