FILE PHOTO: US Deputy State Secretary John J. Sullivan attends the round table during the G7 Foreign Ministers meeting in Dinard, France April 5, 2019. Thibault Vandermersch/Pool via REUTERS
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan “could very well be” the next U.S. ambassador to Russia, President Donald Trump said on Tuesday, describing the No. 2 diplomat at the State Department as “very respected.”
Speaking at the White House, where he hosted Romania’s President Klaus Iohannis, Trump indicated that Sullivan was being considered for the job.
“He’s somebody that is being put up and respected very much … very respected. I know that Mike Pompeo likes him very much, and he’s very respected. He could very well be (my nominee),” Trump told reporters.
If nominated, Sullivan would succeed Jon Huntsman, who resigned earlier this month as Washington’s envoy to Moscow amid speculation he plans to run for governor of Utah.
In his resignation letter, Huntsman, who is scheduled to leave his post in October, urged the administration to hold Russia accountable for its behavior but said that it should not ignore common interests between the countries.
U.S. administration officials last week knocked down media reports that Stephen Biegun, the U.S. envoy for North Korea, was being considered as the next ambassador to Russia.
Reporting by Steve Holland; writing by Lesley Wroughton; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Dan Grebler