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John Kerry to fly home after cycling accident in France

Kerry bikes during a pause in Iran nuclear talks in Lausanne, Switzerland.
Kerry bikes during a pause in Iran nuclear talks in Lausanne, Switzerland. AFP - Fabrice Coffrini

Secretary of State John Kerry will return to the US after being injured in a cycling accident in France, cancelling a visit to Paris to attend a summit of the international coalition against the Islamic State group, the State Department said Sunday.

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Kerry, 71, was taken by helicopter to Geneva University Hospital after breaking his right femur in a bicycle accident in the Haute-Savoie region of France on Sunday, the State Department said.

"The secretary is stable and never lost consciousness, his injury is not life-threatening, and he is expected to make a full recovery," spokesman John Kirby said in a statement.

The top US diplomat will be returning home on Monday for treatment, cutting short his four-nation diplomatic tour and missing a June 2 conference in Paris of the international coalition battling the Islamic State group.

"The secretary had planned on flying back to the US this evening, but after further consultation it was sensible for him to remain in the hospital for observation overnight for purely precautionary measures and fly home tomorrow," Kirby said late on Sunday.

Kerry offered his regrets at having to cut his diplomatic tour short, and said that he plans to join the Paris talks "remotely".

"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, as well as being unable to attend the counter-ISIL (Islamic State group) coalition ministerial meeting on Tuesday in Paris in person," Kirby said.

Tour de France mountain pass

The accident happened in Scionzier, 40 kilometres (25 miles) southeast of the Swiss border, near the ski resort of Chamonix in the French Alps.

A local French government source said that Kerry had wanted to cycle one of the stages of the Tour de France, the challenging Col de la Colombière mountain pass.

Kerry was in Abuja on May 29 to lead the official US delegation for the inauguration of Nigerian President-elect Muhammadu Buhari.

He met Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif for six hours in a Geneva hotel on Saturday as the two sides work to seal a comprehensive nuclear accord by June 30.

Kerry had planned to travel later on Sunday to Madrid for meetings with Spain's king and prime minister before spending two days in Paris for the conference. He was also expected to meet with French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius.

The secretary of state has been known to bike often during breaks on his diplomatic journeys. During discussions in late March and early April between world powers and Iran, he took several bike trips during pauses in the negotiations in Lausanne, Switzerland.

(FRANCE 24 with AP, AFP, REUTERS)

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