WASHINGTON, Jan. 7 (Xinhua) -- U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton returned to her office on Monday after a month-long absence due to illness and received a warm welcome from her staff.
The top American envoy received a standing ovation from 75 senior staff members present when she walked in the room, wearing a "brilliant pink jacket," State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said.
Deputy Secretary of State Thomas Nides presented Clinton with a gift from the staff in a big box, telling his boss that "As you know, Washington is a contact sport."
In the box were a football helmet with the State Department seal, a football jersey with "Clinton" imprinted on the back and number "112" on the front, which symbolizes the number of countries that she has visited as secretary of state since taking office four years ago, Nuland said.
"And she loved it. She thought it was cool," the spokeswoman said at a regular news briefing.
Clinton, 65, is the most-traveled U.S. secretary of state as she has traveled over 950,000 miles and spent some 400 days on her plane.
She returned home on Dec. 7 from a European tour suffering from a stomach virus, followed by a concussion sustained when she fainted and hit her head as a result of dehydration. She was hospitalized in New York for three days late last month after a blood clot was found in a vein in her head.
She has stated her intention to step down at the start of President Barack Obama's second term in January, and the president has nominated Senator John Kerry to succeed her.
Nuland said that back in office, the secretary reiterated her demand that "every single" of the 29 recommendations made by the Accountability Review Board in regard to boosting security for U.S. posts overseas be "on its way to implementation" by the time her successor is sworn in.
The board faulted the State Department for the attack on the U. S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya on Sept. 11 last year, in which Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans were killed, saying "management deficiencies" at high levels of the agency resulted in inadequate security posture in the mission.
Nuland said Clinton will reschedule her appearance for a congressional hearing on the attack, which was slated for Dec. 20 but canceled later due to her poor health.
"Let me just say that she will testify, she will testify while she is still sitting secretary of state," Nuland said.