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Trump sacks his secretary of state

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President Donald Trump has ousted Rex Tillerson as secretary of state, tweeting in a surprise Tuesday morning announcement that Mr Tillerson will be replaced by CIA director Mike Pompeo.

External Link: Trump sacks Tillerson tweet

A White House official said Trump wanted to have a new team in place ahead of upcoming talks with North Korea and various trade talks.

The official spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorised to speak publicly.

There had been longstanding rumours throughout most of Mr Tillerson's tenure of friction between Mr Trump and his secretary of state, a former Exxon Mobile Corp chief executive officer.

Mr Trump publicly undercut Mr Tillerson's diplomatic initiatives numerous times, including on Monday when the former secretary of state's comments about Russia appeared to be at odds with those of the White House.

Mr Tillerson also appeared out of the loop last week when Mr Trump announced he would meet with North Korea's leader and become the first sitting US president to do so.

Mr Pompeo is to be replaced at the CIA by his deputy Gina Haspel, Mr Trump tweeted. She would be the first woman in that role.

Mr Tillerson had just returned from a shortened trip to Africa hours before Mr Trump's announcement.

Mr Trump offered no explanation for the change.

More to come.

AP/Reuters

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