Most U.S. Special Envoy Positions To Be Eliminated, Shifted Under Secretary Of State Tillerson’s Plan

Associated Press: Tillerson to abolish most special envoys, including climate
“Most of the United States’ special envoys will be abolished and their responsibilities reassigned as part of the State Department overhaul, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told Congress on Monday, including envoys for climate change and the Iran deal…” (Lederman, 8/29).

Bloomberg: Tillerson Outlines Plan to Cut Envoy Jobs in State Overhaul
“…Tillerson’s plan, parts of which will need congressional approval, reflects his belief that there were too many special-envoy jobs — there are currently about 70 — and their work often duplicated efforts done elsewhere in the department. He’s also seeking to carry out demands that he cut the agency’s budget by about a third. Yet his plan doesn’t address the problem of vacant senior positions at the agency, an issue that has increasingly become a point of contention between the White House and Tillerson’s department…” (Wadhams, 8/28).

Foreign Policy: State Department Reorganization Eliminates Climate, Muslim, and Syria Envoys
“…The reorganization … will leave certain posts intact, including 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. The administration also plans to retain envoys on religious freedom, LGBT rights, war crimes, American hostages, and anti-semitism — all issues critics have accused Trump of undermining. However, those positions will be integrated into larger bureaus in the department. One special envoy post from the Office of Global Food Security, will be transferred to the U.S. Agency for International Development…” (Lynch/Gramer, 8/29).

Newsweek: Anti-semitism needs a special envoy but climate change doesn’t, Tillerson says with State Department changes
“… ‘I believe that the department will be able to better execute its mission by integrating certain envoys and special representative offices within the regional and functional bureaus, and eliminating those that have accomplished or outlived their original purpose,’ Tillerson wrote in the letter addressed to Republican Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee, chairman of the Committee on Foreign Relations…” (Ziv, 8/29).

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