Tillerson rebuts accusations over State Department management

Source: Xinhua| 2017-11-21 14:06:21|Editor: pengying
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WASHINGTON, Nov. 21 (Xinhua) -- U.S. State Secretary Rex Tillerson rejected mounting accusations over his management of the State Department on Monday, insisting that his "redesign" will erase all concerns.

"This department is performing extraordinarily well," Tillerson told reporters before meeting Qatari foreign minister.

"And I take exception to anyone who would characterize it otherwise. It's just not true," he added.

When asked about the "morale problems" in the department and the worries of the cuts of staff, the U.S. top diplomat said that "the redesign is going to address all of that."

Tillerson's remarks followed growing criticism from bipartisan lawmakers who worried that cuts of staff and a reorganization plan which has been seen as leading to nowhere may cause a brain drain in the U.S. foreign service corps.

Senator Ben Cardin, the top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, called the staff reductions a risk to national security and a "high-level decapitation of leadership."

The State Department will ask for 641 employee departures above its normal attrition levels by the end of 2018 in order to achieve an 8-percent reduction of the workforce required by the White House Office of Management and Budget.

Tillerson also has embraced a White House proposal to slash the State Department's budget by about 30 percent.

At a press briefing on Friday, calling the redesign "a work in progress," State Department Spokeswoman Heather Nauert acknowledged there is a low morale among agency employees.