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Trump sacks Secretary of State Tillerson, CIA chief takes over

CIA director Mike Pompeo named as new secretary of state

WASHINTON, DC: United States President Donald Trump yesterday said he had replaced Secretary of State Rex Tillerson with Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) director Mike Pompeo, ousting the embattled top diplomat after a series of public rifts.

Mr Trump announced the Cabinet shake-up on Twitter and said he had tapped the CIA's deputy director, Ms Gina Haspel, to replace Mr Pompeo, 54, at the intelligence agency.

Mr Tillerson's departure represents the biggest staff change in the Trump administration so far and caps months of tension between the Republican President and the 65-year-old former Exxon Mobil chief executive.

A senior White House official said Mr Trump had asked Mr Tillerson to step down on Friday but did want not to announce it while he was on a trip to Africa.

Mr Trump, speaking to reporters before leaving for California, said he and Mr Tillerson "got along well", but they had different opinions on some issues, CNN reported.

IRAN

One of the disagreements is over the Iran deal, which Mr Trump has said is terrible.

"We were not really thinking the same," Mr Trump said.

"Pompeo and I have a similar thought process," he added.

Mr Trump wished Mr Tillerson well, describing him as "a good man".

Mr Trump and Mr Tillerson, who had no diplomatic or political experience before becoming secretary of state, have diverged on policy numerous times, including over North Korea and Russia.

On Monday, Mr Tillerson sharply criticised Russia over the poisonings in England of a former spy and his daughter, directly blaming Moscow after White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders stopped short of doing so.

Mr Tillerson also appeared out of the loop last week when Mr Trump announced he would meet with North Korea's leader, Mr Kim Jong Un. - REUTERS

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