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State Dept’s Nicholas Burns Retires: Adios and Good Riddance!

Sat Jan 19, 2008 8:55 am (PST) THE NEW YORK TIMES

January 19, 2008

U.S. Diplomat Nicholas Burns Stepping Down
By HELENE COOPER

WASHINGTON – R. Nicholas Burns, the country’s third-ranking diplomat and
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice’s right-hand man, is retiring for
personal reasons, the State Department said Friday.

The White House said that it was nominating William J. Burns, the United
States ambassador to Russia, to replace him as under secretary of state for
political affairs. The two men are not related. Like R. Nicholas Burns,
William Burns is a career foreign service official. He has served as
assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern Affairs as well as ambassador
to Jordan.

“This is a very bittersweet time for us because Nick Burns has decided that
it is time for him to retire,” Ms. Rice said in announcing Mr. Burns’s
resignation in the State Department’s ornate Treaty Room. “He has decided
that it’s the right moment to go back to family concerns.”

R. Nicholas Burns, 51, has led the administration’s efforts on Iran, serving

as the United States negotiator with the five other countries – Russia,China, Britain,

France and Germany – that have been seeking to rein in Tehran’s nuclear ambitions.

A career foreign service official, Mr. Burns has thrived under a succession of administrations,

both Republican and Democratic.

He was the lead negotiator on an India nuclear agreement, and has had a role
in almost all of the Bush administration’
s major foreign policy initiatives.
A senior administration official close to Mr. Burns said that he was
retiring so that he could focus on getting his three daughters through
college.
Mr. Burns has not lined up his next job, but has dismissed talk of running
for office in Massachusetts, his home state.
During an interview, Mr. Burns said he was proud of the administration’ s
offer in 2006 to hold talks with Iran if it agreed to suspend its uranium
enrichment. “It’s very important that we continue the effort to find a way
toward negotiations with Iran,” he said.
He said that he believed that the United States and NATO still had some
distance to go in managing the military presence in Afghanistan, where
forces from the United States and several allies are working to end the
Taliban-led insurgency. “I’ve spent a lot of time trying to help organize
our efforts in Afghanistan, and that is a singular challenge for us,” he
said.
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January 19, 2008 Posted by | Imperialism, Uncategorized, US | , | Leave a comment