Diplomatic Briefing

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Archive for August 11, 2017

Newsline: Trump Thanks Putin for Firing Embassy Employees ‘We’ll Save a Lot of Money’

President Trump offered gratitude rather than outrage for Russia’s decision to force the United States Embassy in Moscow to slash its personnel by 755 people, despite bipartisan condemnation from other American leaders who protested the Cold War-style move. President Vladimir V. Putin last month ordered the seizure of two American diplomatic properties and directed the American Embassy staff in Russia be cut by more than half in retaliation for sanctions imposed by Congress because of Russia’s meddling in last year’s presidential election in the United States. “I want to thank him because we’re trying to cut down on payroll, and as far as I’m concerned, I’m very thankful that he let go of a large number of people, because now we have a smaller payroll,” Mr. Trump told reporters at his golf club in Bedminster, N.J. “There’s no real reason for them to go back. So I greatly appreciate the fact that we’ve been able to cut our payroll of the United States. We’ll save a lot of money.” Mr. Trump said it with a somewhat light tone, but it was not clear if he was joking. A request to his spokeswoman for clarification was not immediately returned. Mr. Putin’s decision to slash the embassy staff recalled some of the most antagonistic moments of the long Cold War and was Russia’s largest such move against the American diplomatic corps in decades.

Newsline: Top aides to U.S. ambassador to the United Nations resign

Two top aides to U.S. diplomat Nikki Haley, President Donald Trump’s ambassador to the United Nations, have resigned due to family concerns. Haley announced the departures on her Twitter account. Gone are Haley’s chief of staff, Steven Groves, and Communications Director Jonathan Wachtel, she said. “Both Jonathan & Steve have recently encountered family concerns. They will always be a part of the team & dear friends,” Haley said in a tweet responding to news reports the two men were leaving. Haley’s role at the United Nations received international attention last week when she helped persuade reticent members of the Security Council — particularly China and Russia — to pass tough new economic sanctions against North Korea. Replacements for Groves and Wachtel have not yet been announced.

https://www.upi.com/Top_News/US/2017/08/10/Top-aides-to-UN-ambassador-Nikki-Haley-resign/5271502371354/