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Clinton returns to work after a month, receives standing ovation

January 08, 2013 10:13 IST

United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton received a standing ovation from her staff when she returned to work after a month of illness, her spokesperson said, adding that the leader was "looking terrific."

"She looks fantastic. She seems to be terrific," State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland said after Clinton resumed her work at Foggy Bottom headquarters of the State Department and held meetings with her top officials.

At the advice of her doctors, she would not be travelling abroad, Nuland said.

Clinton was away from the State Department for about a month because of a stomach infection she developed during her European trip in early December. She was later admitted to the hospital towards the end of the year, after doctors detected a blood clot inside her head.

Doctors have now declared her fully recovered.

"Judging by the woman we saw this morning and the workload that she has got, she seems to be fully recovered," the spokeswoman said in response to a question.

Wearing a brilliant pink jacket, Clinton arrived at the State Department early in the morning and then went straight for her meeting with top State Department officials.

"When she walked in the room, she got a standing ovation from the 75 people assembled, and then Deputy Secretary (Thomas) Nides presented her with a gift from all of us in a big box," Nuland said.

"First of all he said, 'As you know, Washington is a contact sport.' And (then) she opened the box, and inside was a football helmet with the State Department seal, lots of good padding, and also a football jersey that said Clinton on the back and on the front it says number 112, which symbolises the number of countries that she has visited as Secretary of State," she said.

"She (Clinton) loved it. She thought it was cool. But then, being Hillary Clinton, she wanted to get right to business. So we do what we always do in that meeting, went around the room, and she heard from everybody what they are working on and what is coming forward," Nuland said.

Clinton has a series of meetings lined up through the week including those at the White House and with visiting Afghan President Hamid Karzai later this week.

Clinton is also assisting Senator John Kerry in the transition.

Kerry has been nominated by US President Barack Obama to succeed her.

She is also preparing for a Congressional testimony on the hill on the terrorist attack in Benghazi that killed the US ambassador to Libya and two other American nationals.

"She has been talking to him virtually nonstop. She has apparently had sort of daily phone calls, a number of phone calls. He (Kerry) is not in the building today. But as I said last week, she is 100 percent committed to having the smoothest possible transition, to helping him as much as possible, and she will be available as much as he needs her," the spokeswoman said.

Lalit K Jha
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