US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has outlined a major haul of the state department, suggesting the elimination of key advisory roles on climate change and Syria, The Foreign Policy reported.
In a letter to Bob Corker, the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, Tillerson stated concerns about the proliferation of 70 special envoy posts created to “reach out to Muslim communities, support anti-government fighters in Syria, and curb the environmental devastation wrought by global warming, according to the newspaper.
“I believe the department will be able to better execute its mission by integrating certain envoys and special representative office within the regional and functional bureaus, and eliminating those that have accomplished or outlived their original purpose,” Tillerson wrote in the letter, which was obtained by FP.
“I have determined that the changes proposed will advance US national security interests, and will help counter the influence of US adversaries and competitors.
About 36 of the 66 current envoys will be eliminated or integrated within bureaus within the State Department. These include special representatives to Muslim Communities and the US Special Envoy to the Organisation of the Islamic Cooperation [OIC]. Envoys who champion rights for the disabled, promote peace in Africa, seek the closure of the Guantanamo Bay Detention Facility will be removed.
Tillerson’s plans reflect priorities of Trump administration – which has stressed on reducing funding and resources for American diplomacy and focus on increasing military funding.
However, posts of the Special Envoy for Israeli-Palestinian Negotiations, the Special Representative for North Korea Policy, the presidential envoy responsible for building the anti-Islamic State military coalition, and the Special Representative for Commercial and Business Affairs will remain intact.
The Trump administration will also retain special representatives on religious freedom, LGBT rights, war crimes, American hostages, and antisemitism — issues that Trump has been criticised over time and again. But these positions will be assimilated under larger bureaus within the department. The FP report said at least one special envoy will be transferred from the Office of Global Food Security to US Agency for International Development.
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