US secretary of state cancels Spain visit after breaking leg in bike accident

John Kerry was scheduled to fly to Madrid on Sunday to sign bilateral military agreement

An archive image of John Kerry (left) riding a bycicle.
An archive image of John Kerry (left) riding a bycicle.FABRICE COFFRINI (AFP)

US Secretary of State John Kerry has canceled what was to be his first visit to Spain after breaking his leg in a cycling accident on Saturday.

Kerry fractured his right femur while riding a bicycle in the French municipality of Scionzier, near the border with Switzerland, the US State Department said in a release.

“Given the injury is near the site of his prior hip surgery, he will return to Boston today [Sunday] to seek treatment at Massachusetts General Hospital with his doctor, who did the prior surgery,” said the statement.

The US representative was scheduled to fly to Madrid on Sunday afternoon to meet with King Felipe VI, Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy and Foreign Minister José Manuel García-Maragllo.

The main goal of his visit was to sign a new bilateral protocol to turn the airbase at Morón de la Frontera (Seville) into the main US military permanent base for Africa (USAFRICOM).

“The Secretary very much regrets not being able to visit Spain to meet with one of our close allies for discussions on a range of issues,” said the State Department release.

The last time a US Secretary of State came to Spain was a 2011 visit by Hillary Clinton.

Diplomatic sources said they still did not know how the bilateral agreement will be signed. The Spanish government, which approved the deal on Friday, is in a hurry to get it ratified before the dissolution of parliament in the fall. Spain will hold general elections in November, and with the ruling Popular Party (PP) widely expected to lose its absolute majority, it is unclear whether the new government would support the agreement.

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