Top U.S. diplomat for Europe Wess Mitchell resigns, cites personal, professional reasons

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The top U.S. diplomat for European affairs, Wess Mitchell, has resigned, according to his resignation letter obtained by Reuters on Tuesday.

In the letter to U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo dated Jan. 4, Mitchell said he has completed his goals for the post and wanted to spend more time with his young family.

The State Department did not immediately respond to questions about Mitchell’s resignation, which comes at a time of tensions with some key European allies over the Trump administration’s decisions to withdraw from the Iran deal, the global climate pact, and recently to withdraw troops from Syria.

There were no obvious signs that Mitchell was resigning out of protest against Trump administration policies.

Pompeo said on Twitter that Mitchell had done “an outstanding job as Assistant Secretary.”

“I have valued his counsel and wisdom as he has led our European team in this administration. I wish him and his wife Elizabeth, who is also a committed public servant, much happiness with their two young children,” Pompeo tweeted.

In his resignation letter, Mitchell said he had helped to craft the administration’s European strategy and reorganize staff in the European bureau at the State Department.

“I am proud of what we have accomplished in creating and beginning to implement the Europe Integrated Strategy in support of the National Security Strategy and National Defense Strategy,” he wrote. “The emphasis that these strategies place on the need to prepare our country and the nations of the West for sustained competition with big-power rivals is both urgently necessary and long-overdue,” he added.

(Reporting by Lesley Wroughton; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Susan Thomas)