US envoy to Estonia to retire over frustration with Trump: report

Urmas Paet, pictured in 2014 when he was Estonia
Urmas Paet, pictured in 2014 when he was Estonia's foreign minister, says US President Donald Trump "is breaking apart cooperation in the democratic world"  

Washington (AFP) - The US ambassador to Estonia, James Melville, will retire from the State Department next month, a move he reportedly said was prompted by Donald Trump's jibes and treatment of European allies.

The announcement comes ahead of a summit in Brussels of NATO allies on July 11-12, which has been clouded by Trump's claims that Europe is exploiting the United States by underspending on defense.

The US embassy in Tallinn said the career diplomat would retire after finishing his three-year assignment in Estonia in late July.

But in a private Facebook post first reported by Foreign Policy, Melville said frustration over Trump's barbs had made him decide "it was time to go."

Trump reportedly recently told fellow western leaders that the NATO alliance was "as bad as NAFTA" -- a North American trade deal that he has threatened to tear up.

"A Foreign Service Officer's DNA is programmed to support policy and we're schooled right from the start, that if there ever comes a point where one can no longer do so, particularly if one is in a position of leadership, the honorable course is to resign," Melville's post said, according to the magazine.

"Having served under six presidents and 11 secretaries of state, I never really thought it would reach that point for me," said Melville, who has spent 33 years in the foreign service.

"For the President to say the EU was 'set up to take advantage of the United States, to attack our piggy bank,' or that 'NATO is as bad as NAFTA' is not only factually wrong, but proves to me that it's time to go," he reportedly wrote in his post.

- Cooperation is 'breaking apart' -

Urmas Paet, a former Estonian foreign minister who is now a member of the European Parliament, wrote in a press statement that Melville resigning is "another example of people who spent decades building up the relationship between Europe and USA being unable to put up with the force with which Trump is breaking apart cooperation in the democratic world."

Another Estonian ex-foreign minister, Marina Kaljurand, told state broadcaster ERR that Melville's planned departure had been known for a year but he decided to resign a little earlier than planned.

"From a human point of view I can understand perfectly that it's very hard or practically impossible to represent a country when you don't share its views, when you have to say what you think isn't true," Kaljurand said.

"And I think that he has behaved in a very honest and honorable way."

Also late Friday, fellow career diplomat Susan Thornton -- whom Trump had tapped as assistant secretary for East Asian affairs -- declared she would retire, according to CNN.

Melville's announcement follows the resignation of several other senior envoys over differences with the Trump administration, including the US ambassador to Panama John Feeley and Elizabeth Shackelford, a prominent US diplomat who was based in Nairobi.

Trump's administration was quick to dismiss the ambassadors who served under his predecessor, but has been slow to refill the diplomatic roster.

His first secretary of state, former oil executive Rex Tillerson, clashed with the White House over nominees and the administration struggled to fill posts.

Tillerson has now been replaced by former CIA chief Mike Pompeo, who has promised to bring some "swagger" back to US diplomacy and now the pace of appointments has picked up.


More Related News

AP-NORC Poll: Just 1 in 4 thinks Kavanaugh told entire truth
AP-NORC Poll: Just 1 in 4 thinks Kavanaugh told entire truth

Just 1 in 4 people thinks Brett Kavanaugh was completely honest when he heatedly rebuffed charges of sexual assault and heavy drinking during his Supreme Court confirmation hearing, and Republicans and Democrats hold starkly divergent views of whether his sworn testimony to senators was credible, a poll

Pressure turns to Mexico as migrant caravan heads for border
Pressure turns to Mexico as migrant caravan heads for border
  • World
  • 2018-10-18 23:41:59Z

GUATEMALA CITY (AP) - As some 3,000 Hondurans made their way through Guatemala, attention turned to Mexico, after U.S. President Donald Trump threatened Thursday to close the U.S.-Mexico border if authorities there fail to stop them - a nearly unthinkable move that would disrupt hundreds of thousands

Kelly, Bolton Get in Profane Shouting Match Outside the Oval Office
Kelly, Bolton Get in Profane Shouting Match Outside the Oval Office

The chief of staff, John Kelly, and the national security adviser, John Bolton, fought over immigration and border crossings, including the performance of the Homeland Security Department under Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, one person familiar with the matter said.

Trump Threatens To Order Military To 'Close Our Southern Border' Over Immigration
Trump Threatens To Order Military To 'Close Our Southern Border' Over Immigration

President Donald Trump on Thursday threatened to shut the U.S.-Mexico border,

Trailing in polls, O
Trailing in polls, O'Rourke lays into Cruz in Texas debate

SAN ANTONIO (AP) - Democrat Beto O'Rourke abandoned his usual message of unity and optimism and laid into Ted Cruz, hoping to reverse polls that show him fading against the Republican incumbent during the second debate of a Texas Senate race that has become one of the nation's most closely watched

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply


Top News: Gadgets

Hit "Like"
Don't miss any important news
Thanks, you don't need to show me this anymore.