A number of senior career diplomats are leaving the State Department after the Trump administration accepted their resignations from presidentially appointed positions. The State Department said that several senior management officials as well as a top arms control diplomat would be leaving. All had submitted their resignations prior to Donald Trump’s January 20 inauguration as is required of officials holding jobs appointed by the president. They were not required to leave the foreign service but chose to retire or resign for personal reasons, the department said. While none of the officials has linked his or her departure explicitly to Trump, many diplomats have privately expressed concern about serving in his administration given the unorthodox positions he’s taken on many foreign policy issues. The union that represents American diplomats, the American Foreign Service Association, called for the administration to quickly name successors to the positions. The union urged that they be filled with career diplomats but played down the significance of the moves. Among those whose resignations have been accepted are Thomas Countryman, who had been serving as the acting undersecretary of state for arms control and international security. Others include Undersecretary for Management Patrick F. Kennedy; two assistant secretaries, Joyce Barr and Michele Bond; and Gentry Smith, who directs the Office of Foreign Missions. Other senior career diplomats to have left the State Department since Trump’s election include Victoria Nuland, the former assistant secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs, and Gregory Starr, the assistant secretary for diplomatic security. Starr retired on Inauguration Day as did Lydia Muniz, a non-career political appointee who had run Overseas Building Operations. Trump has yet to fill many top diplomatic jobs, including the deputy secretary roles. His nominee to be secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, is expected to be confirmed by the Senate next week.
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Newsline: US senior diplomats’ resignations accepted