Hillary Clinton steps down as Secretary of State
Hillary Clinton said yesterday on her last day as US Secretary of State that the world is a safer place.
Mrs Clinton, 65, who will be replaced by ex-presidential candidate John Kerry, leaves the post after four years.
The former first lady has not disclosed yet whether she will run again as a presidential candidate in 2016.
Acknowledging Friday’s attack on the US embassy in Ankara, she told her staff: “I am very proud of the work we have done together […] of course, we live in very complex and dangerous times, as we saw again just today at our embassy in Ankara, where we were attacked.”
She confirmed feeling “more optimistic” now than when she took office in 2009, and told her staff: “I am so grateful that we’ve had a chance to contribute in each of our ways to making our country and our world stronger, safer, fairer and better.”
Hours before her farewell speech Mrs. Clinton submitted her resignation letter to President Barak Obama, in which she acknowledged “America’s strength as a global leader and its potential to be a force for good.”
Hillary Rodham Clinton has been on the world stage since 1992 when she became first lady and her husband Bill was elected US President for the first time.
A Gallup poll named her the most admired woman in the world 17 times.
During her four years as Secretary of State she travelled 956,733 miles, visited 112 countries and spent the equivalent of 87 days on an airplane. She leaves her post as 67th Secretary of State with 70% approval ratings – higher than any former secretary of state since 1948, with the exception of the Bush era’s Colin Powell.
Mrs Clinton managed to reinvent her political career all over again during the past 20 years. However, the road to America’s top diplomatic post was probably her most important challenge.
Her last months as US Secretary of State will also be remembered for the attack on the US consulate in Benghazi, Libya, that cost the lives of US Ambassador J Christopher Stevens and three other Americans. She has apologised for the security failure during the inquest that followed the episode.
When asked about the future, Mrs Clinton said she has not specific plans but confirmed that she still plans to make a difference on issues she cares about.