US President Barack Obama has accepted the resignation of his government’s Ambassador to Malta, Douglas Kmiec, a State Department official said last night.
Prof. Kmiec’s resignation came on Saturday in the wake of a report by the US Office of Inspector General (OIG), which criticised the amount of time he dedicated to promoting his faith.
The story made international headlines since Prof. Kmiec, a devout Catholic, was a well-known aide of President Obama on the campaign trail. Prof. Kmiec endorsed Mr Obama despite the aspiring president’s pro-choice stance.
Meanwhile, Malta’s Foreign Minister Tonio Borg yesterday said he was “disappointed and surprised” by the fact that the Ambassador was stepping down.
“He was and still is a good Ambassador who has served his country well, while winning the hearts of many,” Dr Borg said.
“Far from hindering the carrying out of his duties, his faith actually made him stronger and helped him gain respect and admiration.”
In his resignation letter, Prof. Kmiec said that the only way he could stay on as Ambassador was if President Obama personally affirmed his credentials. He, therefore, addressed his letter to Mr Obama:
“With the highest respect for your leadership, and with some understanding of the difficulty and complexity of the challenges that you and Secretary (of State Hilary) Clinton face each day, I ask that you accept my resignation effective on the feast of the Assumption, 2011.”
Prof. Kmiec, who has served as ambassador to Malta since 2009, also criticised the OIG.
“An unfortunate OIG report published last week claims that high standard unmet on the unsupported speculation that someone doing as much writing as I have done could not have also been devoted to the embassy mission.”
In his letter to the President, the ambassador invited Mr Obama to attend the opening of the new US Embassy in Malta in July and in a separate statement urged him to make the journey to the island even sooner.
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