Clinton quits as US Secretary of State

Hillary Clinton has formally resigned as America’s 67th secretary of state, capping a four-year tenure in the office that saw her shatter previous records for countries visited.

In a letter sent to President Barack Obama shortly before she was to leave the State Department for the last time in her official capacity, Mrs Clinton thanked her former foe for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination for the opportunity to serve in his administration.

Mrs Clinton said it had been an honour to be part of his cabinet and that she remained convinced of the “strength and staying power” of American global leadership.

Her resignation will be effective on the swearing-in of her successor, John Kerry, who will take the oath of office in a private ceremony later.

Mrs Clinton pushed through a throng of American foreign service workers who clamoured for handshakes and smartphone photos with her and gave an emotional goodbye speech.

She told them to continue to “serve the nation we all love, to understand the challenges, the threats and the opportunities that the United States faces and to work with all our heart and all of our might to make sure that America is secure, that our interests are promoted and our values are respected”.

Clinton, however, also left office with a slap at critics of the Obama administration’s handling of the September attack on a US diplomatic mission in Libya.

She told The Associated Press in an interview yesterday that critics of the administration’s handling of the attack do not live in an “evidence-based world,” and their refusal to “accept the facts” is unfortunate and regrettable for the political system.

Mrs Clinton said that the attack in Benghazi was the low point of her time as America’s top diplomat. But she suggested that the furore over the assault would not affect whether she runs for president in 2016.

Although she insisted that she has not decided what her future holds, she said she “absolutely” still plans to make a difference on issues she cares about in speeches and in a sequel to her 2003 memoir, “Living History, that will focus largely on her years as secretary of state

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