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Donald Trump denies grace period to ambassadors appointed by Obama; to quit by 20 January

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 Inauguration Day, the US ambassador to New Zealand said on Friday.

The US Capitol dome. Reuters file image

The US Capitol dome. Reuters file image

"I will be departing on 20 January," 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 23 December, Gilbert said.

He was confirming a report in The New York Times, which quoted diplomatic sources as saying previous US administrations from both major political parties have traditionally granted extensions to allow a few ambassadors, particularly those with school-age children, to remain in place for weeks or months.

Officials from the State Department and Trump's transition team were was not immediately available for comment.

The order threatens to leave the US without Senate-confirmed envoys for months in critical nations like Germany, Canada and Britain, the newspaper reported.

A senior Trump transition official said there was no ill will in the move, describing it as a simple matter of ensuring Obama's overseas envoys leave the government on schedule, just as thousands of political aides at the White House and in federal agencies must do.

Trump has taken a strict stance against leaving any of Obama's political appointees in place, as he prepares to take office on 20 January, aiming to break up many of his predecessor's signature foreign and domestic policy achievements, the newspaper said.

Diplomats told The New York Times that the order has thrown their personal lives into a tailspin, leaving them scrambling to secure living arrangements and acquire visas allowing them to stay in their countries so their children can remain in school.


Updated Date: Jan 06, 2017 14:56 PM

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