Jeddah: A mechanical problem on her US Air Force plane forced Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to postpone by hours her departure from Saudi Arabia and opt for another US flight back to Washington.
Clinton told reporters who have been travelling with her that a "serious" problem with the fuel valve grounded the plane and she and top aides were now planning to travel home
with General David Petraeus.
Petraeus, the US military commander for the Middle East and Central Asia, was in Riyadh for talks with Saudi leaders, while Clinton was holding her own meetings about
Iran, the Arab-Israeli peace process and other issues.
Staff said Clinton is only able to take along with her a few top aides as well as diplomatic security officers, while the rest of her staff and news reporters make separate arrangements to fly back to the US capital.
Clinton, who chatted with staff and reporters in the sumptuous VIP lounge at King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah, was now expected to return to Washington to resume her planned schedule.