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Trump asks US envoys appointed by Obama to quit by Inauguration Day

In picture: US President-elect Donald Trump who is set to take office on January 20 this month. Photograph: (Getty)

Reuters District of Columbia, United States Jan 06, 2017, 04.56 PM (IST)

In a mandate issued by US President-elect Donald Trump, the political ambassadors appointed by President Barack Obama are to resign by Inauguration Day, the US ambassador to New Zealand said on Friday.

"I will be departing on January 20th," ambassador Mark Gilbert said in a Twitter message to Reuters.

Gilbert added that the mandate was issued "without exceptions" through an order sent in a State Department cable on December 23, Reuters reported.

A New York Times report quoted a diplomatic source as saying that previous US administrations have traditionally granted extensions to some ambassadors to remain in places for a couple weeks or even months.

The order threatens to leave the United States without Senate-confirmed envoys for months in critical nations like Germany, Canada and Britain, the New York Times reported.

Officials from the State Department and Trump's transition team were was not immediately available for comment, Reuters said.

Political ambassadors, especially ones with close ties to the president, often leave with the end of their term.

A senior Trump transition official told the newspaper that it was a simple move to ensure timely departure of Obama's overseas envoys.

The official told The New York Times that the move should not come as a surprise to the ambassadors.

Trump has taken a strict stance against leaving any of Obama's political appointees in place as he prepares to take office on January 20, the newspaper said.

Diplomats told New York Times the order has thrown their personal lives into a tailspin, leaving them scrambling to secure living arrangements and acquire visas allowing them to stay in their countries so their children can remain in school.

(With inputs from Reuters)

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