(CNSNews.com) – At an event officials say was planned before the attacks in Libya that killed four Americans on Sept. 11, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the Libyan Ambassador to the U.S., Ali Aujali, celebrated the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan at the State Department on Thursday.
The Eid ul-Fitr reception was held almost a month after the official end of the month on Aug. 19, delayed, officials say, because of Clinton’s travel schedule.
“The date [of the reception] was set purely because of scheduling considerations, especially given lengthy travel abroad recently,” a State Department spokesman told CNSNews.com via email.
The spokesman provided a copy of the Secretary’s schedule, showing that Thursday’s event was scheduled about 24 hours ahead of the attack on the U.S. embassy in Benghazi that resulted in the death of U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans.
“Although I am many weeks overdue in saying it: Eid Mubarak,” Clinton said. “No matter how belated we are honoring Eid and the end of Ramadan, this is a cherished tradition here at the State Department.”
Clinton acknowledged the deaths, saying, “Tonight, our gathering is more somber than any of us would like. This comes during sad and difficult days for the State Department family.