U.S. envoys appointed by Obama asked to
quit by Inauguration Day
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[January 06, 2017]
(Reuters) - U.S. President-elect
Donald Trump's transition team has issued a blanket mandate requiring
politically appointed ambassadors installed by President Barack Obama to
leave their posts by Inauguration Day, the U.S. ambassador to New
Zealand said on Friday.
"I will be departing on January 20th," Ambassador Mark Gilbert said in a
Twitter message to Reuters.
The mandate was issued "without exceptions" through an order sent in a
State Department cable on Dec. 23, Gilbert said.
He was confirming a report in the New York Times, which quoted
diplomatic sources as saying previous U.S. administrations, from both
major political parties, have traditionally granted extensions to allow
a few ambassadors, particularly those with school-age children, to
remain in place for weeks or months.
Officials from the State Department and Trump's transition team were was
not immediately available for comment.
The order threatens to leave the United States without Senate-confirmed
envoys for months in critical nations like Germany, Canada and Britain,
the New York Times reported.
A senior Trump transition official told the newspaper there was no ill
will in the move, describing it as a simple matter of ensuring Obama's
overseas envoys leave the government on schedule, just as thousands of
political aides at the White House and in federal agencies must do.
Trump has taken a strict stance against leaving any of Obama's political
appointees in place as he prepares to take office on Jan. 20, aiming to
break up many of his predecessor's signature foreign and domestic policy
achievements, the newspaper said.
[to top of second column]
President Barack Obama attends a military full honor review farewell
ceremony given in his honor, accompanied by Defense Secretary Ash
Carter at Joint Base Myer-Henderson in Washington, U.S. January 4,
2017. REUTERS/Carlos Barria
Diplomats told New York Times the order has thrown their personal
lives into a tailspin, leaving them scrambling to secure living
arrangements and acquire visas allowing them to stay in their
countries so their children can remain in school.
(Reporting by Jonathan Barrett and Tom Westbrook in Sydney;
Additional reporting by Rama Venkat Raman in Bengaluru.; Editing by
Sunil Nair and Raju Gopalakrishnan)
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