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Top US Diplomat for Europe Resigns After 16 Months on Job

Wess Mitchell's departure is 'a blow': AP
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jan 22, 2019 1:07 PM CST
United States' Wess Mitchell, assistant secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, arrives for the 25th Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, OSCE, ministerial council meeting,...   (AP Photo/Antonio Calanni)

(Newser) – The top US diplomat for Europe is resigning after only 16 months on the job in a blow to efforts to maintain trans-Atlantic unity amid questions about the Trump administration's commitment to historic alliances. The State Department said Tuesday that Assistant Secretary of State for Europe and Eurasian Affairs Wess Mitchell would leave his post in mid-February, the AP reports. "Wess has done an outstanding job as assistant secretary," Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said. "I have valued his counsel and wisdom as he has led our European team in this administration." State Department deputy spokesman Robert Palladino said Mitchell had been "a valued and effective leader" and a "good friend to our allies and partners in Europe."

Mitchell told the Washington Post, which first reported his departure, that he was leaving for family reasons—mainly to spend more time with his two young children—and not over disagreements with administration policies. However, his resignation comes at a time of fractious relations between Washington and European capitals that have been roiled by disagreements over trade, defense spending, and the US withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal. And his decision to leave was announced just over a month after Pompeo delivered a speech in Brussels, the home of the European Union, questioning the value of multilateral institutions like the EU and international organizations favored by Europe, including the IMF and World Bank.

(Read more State Department stories.)

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