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Jon Huntsman, Trump’s Ambassador to Russia, Resigns

August 6, 2019 by Dan McCue

U.S. Ambassador to Russia Jon Huntsman, turned in his letter of resignation Monday, telling President Donald Trump that after two years in Moscow, its “time to reconnect with our growing family and responsibilities at home.”

“American citizenship is a privilege and I believe the most basic responsibility in return is service to country,” Huntsman said in the letter. “To that end, I am honored by the trust you have placed in me as the United States Ambassador to Russia during this historically difficult period in bilateral relations.

He said his resignation will take effect October 3, telling the president he hopes “this will allow sufficient time for a successor to be nominated and confirmed.”

“I pledge my full effort in facilitating a smooth transition that ensures our foreign policy goals are kept in proper focus,” he added.

A former governor of Utah and candidate for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination, Huntsman has served in the administrations of five presidents.

He began his career as a White House staff assistant for Ronald Reagan, and was appointed deputy assistant Secretary of Commerce and United States Ambassador to Singapore by George H. W. Bush.

Later, as deputy U.S. Trade Representative under George W. Bush, he launched global trade negotiations in Doha in 2001 and guided the accession of China into the World Trade Organization.

He also served as CEO of his family-owned Huntsman Corporation and chair of the Huntsman Cancer Foundation.

In 2009, he was appointed United States Ambassador to China by Barack Obama.

As for his future, the Salt Lake Tribune has reported Huntsman is weighing another possible run for Utah governor.

In his resignation letter, Huntsman paid tribute to the employees of the U.S. Mission in Moscow, whom he says have ‘endured unprecedented expulsions, forced departures, and enormous professional disruptions.

“Though largely anonymous, your team in Mission Russia is first-rate and every American would be proud of their work. Their efforts away from loved ones, in one of the world’s most forbidding environments, are nothing short of inspiring,” he said.

Huntsman then went on to offer a pointed assessment of the future of the U.S. relationship with Russia.

“Going forward, we must continue to hold Russia accountable when its behavior threatens us and our allies,” he told the president. “While much of what divides us is irreconcilable, there are common interests we cannot ignore. No reset or restart is going to help, just a clear understanding of our interests and values — and a practical framework for sustained dialogue.

“Through our diplomacy, we have worked to stabilize years of acrimony and incertitude with the hope of a better relationship,” Huntsman continued. “Failure is not an option, and the people on both sides deserve better.”

Huntsman acknowledged the relationship with Russia is frayed and fraught with complications. Nevertheless, he says “it is critical that we increase exchanges of people and maintain channels for dialogue on issues of national interest — combating terrorism, ensuring verifiable arms control, insisting that Russia respects the sovereignty of its neighbors, and advocating for a more responsive system of governance that includes rule of law and respect for human rights.”

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