STATE/TRUMP PEOPLE/REX TILLERSON: “Forty former U.S. diplomats and national security officials urged Secretary of State Rex Tillerson not to eliminate the State Department office that handles refugees in a letter seen by Reuters on Monday [7-17-17].
The letter argued that a Trump administration proposal to transfer the responsibilities of the Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration to other agencies would undercut U.S. diplomatic leverage in grappling with foreign crises.
Among the retired officials who signed the letter were former Deputy Secretary of State William Burns, former Under Secretaries of State for Political Affairs Nicholas Burns and Wendy Sherman and former Middle East peace envoy Dennis Ross.
‘Whether in Iraq, Afghanistan, Kenya, Turkey or South Sudan, the Department of State’s efforts to address humanitarian crises must include the tightest coordination of diplomatic engagement and emergency assistance,’ the letter, which was also signed by 18 executives with non-governmental aid agencies, said.
‘We are convinced that the elimination of PRM’s assistance functions would have profound and negative implications for the Secretary of State’s capacity to influence policy issues of key concern to the United States,’ the letter said.
State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said Tillerson ‘has no preconceived notions about the outcome of the transformation process he has begun at the State Department.’ “
-Arshad Mohammed, “Ex-U.S. diplomats seek to save State Department refugee office,” Reuters, July 17, 2017 06:36am