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Wednesday June 3rd, 2020 6:36AM

The Latest: McConnell lauds Haley's leadership at the UN

By The Associated Press
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WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on the resignation of U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley (all times local):

3:34 p.m.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says the nation "benefited greatly" from Nikki Haley's leadership as ambassador to the U.N.

McConnell opened the Senate on Tuesday thanking Haley for her service. The GOP leader called her a "skillful advocate" for the nation's interests and a "forceful spokeswoman" for its principles.

Earlier, Haley and President Donald Trump announced at the White House that she would be stepping down at the end of the year.

The Senate voted overwhelmingly to confirm Haley as U.N. ambassador in 2017. She is a former governor of South Carolina.

Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker of Tennessee called her a "fierce advocate for U.S. interests."

___

1:35 p.m.

The United Nations says Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is expressing "deep appreciation for the excellent cooperation and support" from U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley — despite major policy differences on issues including climate change and Palestinian refugees.

U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric tells reporters at U.N. headquarters that the U.N.-U.S. relationship, and the relationship between the secretary-general and the U.S. ambassador, is "very critical."

He says Guterres and Haley had "a very productive and strong working relationship" and "worked hard to promote constructive ties between the United Nations and the United States."

He adds, the U.N.'s differences with the Trump administration "are open and for all to see."

___

12:35 p.m.

The top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations committee says Nikki Haley's resignation as United Nations ambassador is "yet another sign of the Trump administration's chaotic foreign policy."

New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez says in a statement he's "deeply concerned about the leadership vacuum" that will be created by Haley's departure.

President Donald Trump on Tuesday announced Haley will be leaving the administration at the end of the year. Trump says Haley told him six months ago she might want to take some time off.

Haley is a former South Carolina governor who is speculated to have aspirations for higher office. She said at the White House she's not running for president in 2020.

Republican South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham tweets he expects Haley will continue to be a "key player" in their party.

___

10:50 a.m.

President Donald Trump says U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley will be "leaving" his administration "at the end of the year."

Trump and Haley confirmed Tuesday in the Oval Office that the president had accepted her resignation. Trump calls Haley a "very special" person "who gets it," adding that she told him six months ago that she might want to take some time off. Trump says that together they "solved a lot of problems."

Trump announced, "At the end of the year Nikki will be leaving."

Haley is 46 years old and says she has no immediate plans. She denies she is running for president in 2020.

Haley is the former governor of South Carolina. Haley and Trump tangled before he won the 2016 presidential race.

___

10:25 a.m.

U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley plans to resign, The Associated Press has learned.

President Donald Trump tweeted that he has a "big announcement with my friend Ambassador Nikki Haley in the Oval Office at 10:30 a.m."

Congressional and Trump administration officials told the AP that Haley plans to resign. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren't authorized to speak on the record ahead of Trump's announcement. They did not provide a reason.

Haley was appointed to the U.N. post in November 2016.

Before she was named by Trump to her U.N. post, Haley was governor of South Carolina, the first woman to hold the post. She was re-elected in 2014.

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