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Australia's Foreign Minister resigns

02-22-2012 16:55 BJT

CANBERRA, Feb. 22 (Xinhua) -- Australian Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd on Wednesday made a sudden announcement to resign from his job in Washington, according to the Australia Associated Press.

Rudd's decision comes amid the leadership tensions within the Labor Party. It has been weeks when local media reported that Rudd will launch a possible leadership challenge over Gillard, while the latter looks reluctant to act back.

File photo taken on Feb. 19, 2012 shows Australian Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd (2nd R)
talking with Mexican Foreign Minister Patricia Espinosa Cantellano during the G20
Foreign Ministers' Informal Meeting in Los Cabos, Mexico. Australian Foreign Minister
Kevin Rudd has made a sudden announcement in Washington to resign from his post,
Australian media said on Feb. 22, 2012. (Xinhua/Shi Sisi)

Rudd said the decision came as he no longer felt he has the Labor leader's support.

"The truth is I can only serve as foreign minister if I have the confidence of Prime Minister Gillard and her senior ministers," he said on Wednesday.

File photo taken on Nov. 11, 2011 shows Australian Foreign Minister Kevin
Rudd (R) attending the APEC Ministerial Meeting in Honolulu, the United
States. Australian Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd has made a sudden
announcement in Washington to resign from his post, Australian media said
on Feb. 22, 2012. (Xinhua/Zhang Jun)

"In recent days (Regional Australia Minister) Simon Crean and a number of other faceless men have publicly attacked my integrity and therefore my fitness to serve as a minister in the government. When challenged today on these attacks Prime Minister Gillard chose not to repudiate them. I can only reluctantly conclude that she therefore shares these views," said Rudd.

Rudd, who made the announcement in Washington of U.S., said he will return to Australia on Friday and will make a full statement on his future.

He defended his move to make the announcement in U.S., saying that he feels very uncomfortable making the announcement from Washington not in Australia, but he has no choice "given the responsibilities over the days ahead".

Rudd said under no circumstances he wants Australia's international reputation to be brought into disrepute due to his resignation.

"Therefore, Ambassador (Kim) Beazley will discharge my functions here on my behalf in Washington tomorrow and the permanent secretary of my department, Dennis Richardson, will represent me in London and in Tunis," he said.

Gillard and Rudd's relationship has been in on-going dispute since June last year when Gillard seized the Labor leadership from Rudd, saying she needed to take over because a "good government lost its way".

Earlier, there were reports that if Rudd quits politics, the Labor government will be forced to hold a by-election, which could potentially bring down the government.

Editor:Wang Lingfei |Source: Xinhua

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