Richard Haass to Step Down as Council on Foreign Relations Chief in May
Reuters — Senior national security officials, including President Barack Obama’s top foreign policy advisers, will have to decide whether they can be fired after the departure of Richard Haass from the senior post of U.N. Ambassador due in May.
A U.N. spokesman said Tuesday the decision had not been made yet whether to fire Haass, whose term as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations expired in November.
Haass, who recently resigned from the State Department, was slated to leave the Council on Foreign Relations on May 30.
That would be just 14 days after U.S. Senate ratification of an extension of American troops in Afghanistan, a position for which Haass has played a major role.
But he also could be replaced as ambassador at any time because of his unique, senior-level role in shaping the Obama administration’s foreign policy and the United States’ place in the world. Under his watch, the United States has taken a more assertive stance on issues such as global diplomacy and human rights — two issues that will be crucial in the transition to a new administration.
The State Department and the White House declined to comment Tuesday. However, a spokesman for the Council on Foreign Relations said Haass “will continue as the director of the United Nations’ human rights organization and will be an invaluable resource to us as we take on the world stage in the next four years.”
In a statement to The Associated Press, the Council on Foreign Relations did not say whether Haass’ successor would keep the same title — though it did say “the council will be announcing a newly-formed Committee on International Human Rights,” which is chaired by Haass.
Haass has been stepping down for several months, and the Council on Foreign Relations has been working to fill the vacancy because of a shortage of qualified ambassadors who have the time,