Rex Tillerson will be gone soon

Tillerson: "Nothing works without allies"

In a statement, Foreign Minister Rex Tillerson, who had been dismissed a few hours earlier, thanked his employees around the world. "I am now returning to my private life," announced the 65-year-old with a sometimes trembling voice. He will hand over office to his deputy John Sullivan on Tuesday and will work with his designated successor on the handover until his final resignation at the end of March.

The Republican cited the advances in Korea policy as one of the greatest achievements of his tenure as US chief diplomat, which lasted little more than a year. In Syria, ceasefire enforced during his tenure saved the lives of thousands of people.

"US leadership starts with diplomacy"

Looking ahead, Tillerson stressed the need to work with partners on diplomacy. "US leadership begins with diplomacy," he said, adding, "Nothing is possible without allies and partners."

Tillerson said President Donald Trump called him "around noon" from the Air Force One presidential plane. He thus confirmed that Trump had first spoken about the personnel via Twitter and then in front of journalists before informing the person concerned himself.

Trump had justified the dismissal with different political views. Tillerson's successor is the previous CIA director Mike Pompeo. The current Vice Director Gina Haspel is said to be headed by a woman for the first time at the head of the CIA.

hk / rb (dpa, afp, rtr)