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US ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley quits

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Ms Haley is one of the few moderate Republican voices in Mr Trump's Cabinet.

Washington

PRESIDENT Donald Trump's ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, has resigned, leaving the White House with one fewer moderate Republican voice in his Cabinet as his foreign policy team.

President Donald Trump said on Tuesday he has accepted her resignation and Ms Haley will be leaving at the end of the year. Mr Trump said Ms Haley is resigning "to take a little time off" and will leave at the end of the year. Mr Trump said he would name her successor within two or three weeks.

Ms Haley had discussed her resignation with Mr Trump last week when she visited him at the White House, sources said.

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Appearing beside Ms Haley in the Oval Office, Mr Trump praised her and said he hoped she could come back to the administration in another capacity. "We're all happy for you in one way, but we hate to lose (you). Hopefully, you'll be coming back at some point. Maybe a different capacity. You can have your pick," Mr Trump said.

The daughter of immigrants from India, Ms Haley favoured free markets and global trade and earned international attention for speaking out against the Confederate battle flag in the aftermath of the 2015 massacre at a black church in Charleston, South Carolina. During Mr Trump's presidential campaign, she sharply criticised his demeanor and warned what it might mean for US diplomacy - even suggesting that his tendency to lash out at critics could cause a world war.

In a January 2016 response to President Barack Obama's State of the Union address, she warned against following "the siren call of the angriest voices", a clear rebuke of Mr Trump.

And in December 2017, Ms Haley said that women who had accused Mr Trump of sexual misconduct "should be heard", a surprising break from the administration's long-standing assertion that the accusations were false and that voters rightly dismissed them when they elected Mr Trump.

"They should be heard, and they should be dealt with," Ms Haley told CBS. "And I think we heard from them prior to the election. And I think any woman who has felt violated or felt mistreated in any way, they have every right to speak up."

As ambassador, Ms Haley was an outspoken and often forceful envoy - someone whom foreign diplomats looked to for guidance from an administration known for haphazard and inconsistent policy positions. She was quick to voice her own opinions on the big policy issues that are high on her agenda, like Iran and North Korea.

Ms Haley acknowledged her policy disagreements with the president in an op-ed in The Washington Post last month when she criticised an anonymous senior administration official who penned an opinion piece in The New York Times, describing a chaotic administration in which many of the president's aides disagreed with their boss. "I don't agree with the president on everything," Ms Haley wrote. "When there is disagreement, there is a right way and a wrong way to address it. I pick up the phone and call him or meet with him in person."

Ms Haley also collided with national security adviser John Bolton after she announced that Mr Trump would lead a session of the UN Security Council devoted entirely to Iran. After European officials protested that this would showcase divisions in the West because of Mr Trump's decision to pull out of the Iran nuclear deal, the White House broadened the theme to countering weapons of mass destruction. She often clashed with her first boss, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, whose aides wanted her to first clear her public remarks with Washington. REUTERS, NYTIMES