UK & World News

  • 13 December 2012, 22:50

Susan Rice Ends US Secretary Of State Bid

UN Envoy Susan Rice has removed her name from consideration to be the next US Secretary of State, the White House has said.

Ms Rice had been seen as a leading contender to succeed Hillary Clinton as the top US diplomat.

But after a deadly attack on the US consulate in Benghazi, Libya, in September, she had become a target of Republican criticism over the Obama administration's handling of the raid.

Mr Obama said he accepted Ms Rice's decision and said she would continue to serve as the US ambassador to the United Nations.

"Today, I spoke to Ambassador Susan Rice, and accepted her decision to remove her name from consideration for Secretary of State," a statement said.

"For two decades, Susan has proven to be an extraordinarily capable, patriotic, and passionate public servant," the statement went on to say.

Four Americans, including US Ambassador Chris Stevens, were killed in the attack on the diplomatic mission in Libya on September 11.

Republicans and other critics accused Ms Rice of having misled the American people when she appeared on news shows blaming the attack on protests over an anti-Islam film produced in the US, rather than terrorists.

She would have faced a lengthy Senate confirmation battle.

Mr Obama said the attacks on her had been "unfair and misleading", adding that Ms Rice's decision to remove her name "demonstrates the strength of her character, and an admirable commitment to rise above the politics of the moment to put our national interests first".

"I have every confidence that Susan has limitless capability to serve our country now and in the years to come," the President said.

Ms Rice's move throws the race to succeed Mrs Clinton, who has said she will not serve in Mr Obama's second term, wide open.

Democratic Senator John Kerry, a former presidential candidate, is now likely to emerge as the hot favourite for the post, though officials have said no announcement is imminent.