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WASH­ING­TON - US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump has sacked Sec­re­tary of State Rex Tiller­son, re­plac­ing him with the di­rec­tor of the CIA, Mike Pom­peo.

Thank­ing Tiller­son for his ser­vice on Twit­ter, Trump said the new state sec­re­tary would do "a fan­tas­tic job."

Tiller­son, a for­mer chief ex­ec­u­tive of ExxonMo­bil, was only ap­pointed to the job just over a year ago.

The pres­i­dent also nom­i­nated Gina Haspel to be­come the first woman di­rec­tor of the CIA.

A se­nior White House of­fi­cial told the BBC about the tim­ing of the an­nounce­ment: "The pres­i­dent wanted to make sure to have his new team in place in ad­vance of the up­com­ing talks with North Korea and var­i­ous on­go­ing trade ne­go­ti­a­tions."

Tiller­son was on an of­fi­cial tour of Africa last week when he was ap­par­ently caught un­awares by Trump's an­nounce­ment that he would hold talks with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

The top US diplo­mat’s team said he was feel­ing un­well on Satur­day and later in the week­end the state depart­ment said he would cut short his tour by a day.

On Mon­day, Tiller­son ap­peared to de­part from White House talk­ing points when he backed Bri­tish au­thor­i­ties in blam­ing the Krem­lin for the poi­son­ing of a for­mer Rus­sian spy near his home in south­ern Eng­land.

The sec­re­tary of state said the nerve agent at­tack “clearly came from Rus­sia” and “cer­tainly will trig­ger a re­sponse.”

But ear­lier in the day the White House de­clined to point the fin­ger at Rus­sia.

Re­ports have swirled of a schism in the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion be­tween the com­man­der-in-chief and his top diplo­mat, as the US faces a host of vex­a­tious for­eign pol­icy co­nun­drums, from North Korea to Iran.

Last Oc­to­ber Tiller­son was forced to con­vene a news con­fer- ence to deny re­ports that he was con­sid­er­ing quit­ting, though he did not com­ment on a re­port that he had called his boss a mo­ron af­ter a meet­ing last July at the Pen­tagon. Last au­tumn, Trump pub­licly un­der­cut the for­mer Texas oil­man by tweet­ing that he was “wast­ing his time” try­ing to ne­go­ti­ate with nu­clear-armed North Korea.

Tiller­son was re­ported to be as­ton­ished at how lit­tle Trump grasped the ba­sics of for­eign pol­icy.

The New York Times quoted sources as say­ing Trump was ir­ri­tated by Tiller­son’s body lan­guage dur­ing meet­ings.

Tiller­son was said to roll his eyes or slouch when he dis­agreed with the de­ci­sions of his boss.

Tiller­son, who as a long­time cor­po­rate ex­ec­u­tive was an un­con­ven­tional pick for sec­re­tary of state, seemed like he was on thin ice from very early on in his ad­min­is­tra­tion ten­ure.


Mr Tiller­son lasted in the job for just over a year

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