World

Obama-appointed US envoys asked to quit by Jan 20

US 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 Jan 20 Inauguration Day, the US ambassador to New Zealand said yesterday.

"I will be departing on Jan 20," 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, he said.

The order threatens to leave the US without Senate-confirmed envoys for months in critical nations such as Germany, Canada and Britain, the New York Times reported.

A Trump transition official told the newspaper there was no ill will, describing it as a simple matter of ensuring Mr Obama's overseas envoys leave the government on schedule. - REUTERS

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