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Monday, November 15, 2004
US Secretary of State Colin Powell, known as the odd man out in the Bush cabinet, has resigned, US TV networks have reported.
The former general, who headed the Joint Chiefs of Staff during the first Gulf War, was regarded as a dove in a White House full of hawks.
His resignation was not a great surprise.
Powell told his staff he had handed his resignation to President Bush on Friday and that he will remain in office until a successor is appointed.
National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice is regarded as a likely successor.
State Department officials confirmed the resignation.
Powell had long been rumoured to be determined to serve only one term as Bush’s foreign minister.
The White House was preparing an announcement to confirm Powell’s resignation.
According to one official, Powell expects that his departure date will be sometime in January. It was not immediately clear whether he will leave before Bush’s second inauguration on January 20.
Most of the speculation on a successor has centred on UN Ambassador John Danforth, a Republican and former senator from Missouri.
Powell has had a controversial tenure in the chief of state’s job, reportedly differing on some key issues at various junctures with Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.
Powell, however, has generally had good relations with his counterparts around the world, although his image standing has been strained by the U.S.-led war in Iraq.
Powell led the Bush administration argument at the United Nations for a military attack to oust Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein, arguing a weapons-of-mass-destruction threat that the administration could never buttress.
The word of his imminent departure kicked off a new week of Cabinet shuffling for Bush, who is planning his second term.
Education Secretary Rod Paige has also let it be known he wants to leave.
Last week, the administration had announced the departures of Commerce Secretary Donald Evans and Attorney General John Ashcroft.
Posted by Cristian C. Francu : 11/15/2004 07:34:00 pm
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