A broken leg forced Secretary of State John Kerry to shorten a trip focused on negotiating a nuclear agreement with Iran.
WASHINGTON — Secretary of State John Kerry broke his leg in a bicycling accident in Europe, forcing him to cut short a diplomatic trip focused on nuclear negotiations with Iran.
Kerry, 71, was scheduled to fly Monday to Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston after breaking his right femur in the accident early Sunday, said John Kirby, a State Department spokesman. The break is near the site of a prior hip-replacement surgery, Kirby said.
Because of the accident, Kerry canceled meetings with Spanish officials planned for Sunday.
Kerry, an avid cyclist who brings his bike and cycling clothing with him on overseas trips, was bicycling in Scionzier, France, just across the border from Geneva. He had set off to climb through an Alpine pass that is part of the Tour de France route.
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When the accident happened, however, Kerry was traveling slowly on flat ground, the French news service Agence France-Presse reported. His bicycle tire appears to have hit a curb, causing him to fall, local officials told the news service.
Kerry had planned to fly back to the U.S. on Sunday evening, but Kirby said that “after further consultation it was sensible for him to remain in the hospital for observation overnight for purely precautionary measures and fly home tomorrow.”
Kerry is planning to join by teleconference a meeting in Paris on Tuesday of foreign ministers who are part of the coalition against the militant Islamic State group.
The United States and five other world powers are trying to complete a deal by June 30, and Kerry has stepped up his role in the Iran talks this year. Kerry met Saturday with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in Geneva for all-day talks.
The talks are expected to reach a grueling pace as the deadline approaches. Diplomats are already predicting they could be extended at least a few days beyond the deadline, and there is speculation they could be dragged out several additional weeks.
The key remaining issues appear to be the pace at which sanctions against Iran will be lifted and how much, and under what conditions Iran will be required to open suspected nuclear sites to international inspections. Many of the sites are on military bases, which Iran is reluctant to let foreign officials see.
Diplomats and outside analysts are now predicting that chances are good a deal will be reached.