Fired US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is quitting one of the most influential jobs in the world with a warning to the US and the World about what he called Russia’s “troubling behaviour and actions.”
President Donald Trump sacked Tillerson on Tuesday March 13, after a prolonged period of frosty relations between the two former businessmen turned politicians.
The former ExxonMobil chief had a series of public rifts with the White House after being appointed last year. He pointedly failed to thank Mr Trump or praise his policies.
Trump officially fired Mr Tillerson via Twitter, naming CIA Director Mike Pompeo as his replacement.
Speaking to reporters at the Department of State, Tillerson said good work had been done to have better relations with China, and rein in North Korea’s nuclear weapons programme.
But Tillerson added: “Much work remains to respond to the troubling behaviour and actions on the part of the Russian government.
“Russia must assess carefully as to how its actions are in the best interest of the Russian people and of the world more broadly. Continuing on their current trajectory is likely to lead to greater isolation on their part, a situation which is not in anyone’s interest.”
Tillerson’s sacking came shortly after he blamed Russia for the suspected poisoning of former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in the English city of Salisbury last week.
“We have full confidence in the UK’s investigation and its assessment that Russia was likely responsible for the nerve agent attack that took place in Salisbury last week,” Tillerson said in the statement.
Tillerson’s words were seen as a violation of President Trump’s unwritten rule not to condemn Russia for anything.
Despite this, the two have had a series of disagreements over the conduct of foreign policy.
The most recent disagreement came to the fore when Trump accepted an invitation from North Korea’s despot Kim Jong Un to have talks, without informing his Secretary of State.
Still, Tillerson attributed DPRK’s capitulation to the hard work of the State Department to bring pressure to bear on the socialist regime.
Tillerson is the latest in a long list of senior officials who have either resigned or been fired since Mr Trump took office.