Kerry to keep work­ing de­spite a bro­ken fe­mur

Los Angeles Times - - THE WORLD - By Paul Richter paul.richter@la­times.com Twit­ter: @richt­pau

WASH­ING­TON — Sec­re­tary of State John F. Kerry was sched­uled Mon­day to fly to a Bos­ton hos­pi­tal af­ter break­ing his leg in a bi­cy­cling ac­ci­dent in Europe, cut­ting short a diplo­matic trip fo­cused on nu­clear ne­go­ti­a­tions with Iran.

Kerry, 71, broke his right fe­mur early Sun­day, State Depart­ment spokesman John Kirby said. The break is near the site of a prior hip re­place­ment surgery, Kirby said.

The sec­re­tary’s in­jury is “not life-threat­en­ing, and he is ex­pected to make a full re­cov­ery,” Kirby said in a state­ment. He said Kerry was in good spir­its.

Kerry had ini­tially planned on re­turn­ing to the U.S. on Sun­day evening, but Kirby said later Sun­day 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.”

It is un­clear how quickly Kerry will be able to re­sume trav­el­ing. But the sec­re­tary is al­ready sig­nal­ing that he will try to not let the ac­ci­dent in­ter­rupt his usual in­tense work sched­ule.

He is plan­ning to join by tele­con­fer­ence a meet­ing in Paris on Tues­day of for­eign min­is­ters who are part of the coali­tion against the mil­i­tant group Is­lamic State.

Kerry has stepped up his role in the Iran talks this year. The United States and five other world pow­ers are try­ing to com­plete a deal by June 30. Kerry on Satur­day met with Ira­nian For­eign Min­is­ter Mo­ham­mad Javad Zarif in Geneva for hours­long talks.

Yet the U.S. ef­fort in­volves a large team and is per­son­ally guided by Pres­i­dent Obama and White House aides. They keep close tabs on Kerry’s ne­go­ti­at­ing po­si­tions, stay­ing in touch be­fore he be­gins bar­gain­ing ses­sions and de­brief­ing him af­ter­ward, ad­min­is­tra­tion of­fi­cials say.

The talks are ex­pected to reach a gru­el­ing pace as the dead­line ap­proaches. Diplo­mats are al­ready pre­dict­ing that ne­go­ti­a­tions could be ex­tended at least a few days be­yond the dead­line, and there is spec­u­la­tion that they could be dragged out sev­eral more weeks.

The key is­sues for fi­nal bar­gain­ing 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 pre­dict­ing that chances are good a deal will be reached.

Be­cause of the ac­ci­dent, Kerry can­celed meet­ings with Span­ish of­fi­cials planned for Sun­day.

Kerry is to be trans­ported to Mas­sachusetts Gen­eral Hos­pi­tal in a plane “out­fit­ted to en­sure he re­mains com­fort­able and sta­ble through­out the f light,” Kirby said. He said use of the plane is “noth­ing more than a pru­dent med­i­cal step on the ad­vice of physi­cians.”

Kerry, an avid cy­clist who brings his bike and cy­cling cloth­ing with him on over­seas trips, was rid­ing in Scionzier, France, just across the bor­der from Geneva. He had set off to climb an Alpine pass that is part of the Tour de France route.

When the ac­ci­dent hap­pened, how­ever, Kerry was trav­el­ing slowly on f lat ground, the French news ser­vice Agence FrancePresse re­ported. His bi­cy­cle tire ap­pears to have hit a curb, caus­ing him to fall, lo­cal of­fi­cials told the news ser­vice.

F. Cof­frini AFP/Getty Images

SEC­RE­TARY of State John F. Kerry, shown in March, is an avid cy­clist.

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