Rex Tillerson: White House dismisses reports of replacement


dailysun_tillersonCould Rex Tillerson (left) be replaced by Mike Pompeo?

The White House has dismissed reports that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is about to be replaced.

The US top diplomat “continues to lead the state department”, White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said.

And a state department spokeswoman said the reports “were not true”.

The denials come amid reports from several news organisations, citing unnamed administration officials, that plans are being drawn up to replace him with CIA chief Mike Pompeo.

President Donald Trump and Mr Tillerson have disagreed on foreign policy issues and are said not to get on.

The secretary of state has defended the multi-party deal to curb Iran’s nuclear ambitions in return for a loosening of sanctions – an agreement derided by Mr Trump.

The secretary of state warned that the Saudi-led blockade of Qatar could affect the fight against extremism and was having humanitarian consequences.

Mr Trump, on the other hand, appeared to endorse Saudi policy, suggesting the blockade might herald “the beginning of the end to the horror of terrorism” – a reference to allegations Qatar allows funding of extremist groups.

To add to Mr Tillerson’s woes, his plans for radical restructuring of the state department are not going down well in some quarters.

Democrats, and some Republicans, have expressed concern the restructuring – involving sackings and budget cuts – could undermine America’s interests abroad.

Mr Tillerson, 65, was appointed in January and his sacking would cap one of the shortest tenures for an American secretary of state.

His appointment was a controversial one, thanks to his close links to Russian President Vladimir Putin stemming from his work on major oil contracts in Russia.

The Trump administration faces several investigations into whether there was collusion between his election campaign and Russian officials.

Source: BBC


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