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US Ambassador to UN Resigns

Washington's ambassador to the United Nations John Danforth has resigned. Ambassador Danforth announced his resignation late Thursday, less than six months after taking the high-profile United Nations post, and two days after completing his month-long term as Security Council president.

In a brief letter to President Bush, dated November 22, the 68-year old former Senator from Missouri said he would be going home to St. Louis to be with his wife. The letter, posted on the U.S. mission website, says the resignation would take effect January 20, the date President Bush is sworn in for his second term.

After leaving the Senate, Ambassador Danforth served as President Bush's special envoy to Sudan. He accepted the job as U.N. ambassador in June, when his predecessor, John Negroponte, was appointed ambassador to Iraq.

He had been considered a front-runner to succeed Colin Powell as Secretary of State. That job, however, went to National Security Adviser Condoleeza Rice.

Ambassador Danforth's interest in the Sudan's humanitarian crisis drove him as Security Council president last month to take the entire 15-member Council to Africa. There he chaired a series of meetings aimed at pressuring Sudan's warring factions to settle the continent's longest-running civil war.

In his letter of resignation, the envoy left open the possibility of future missions such as the one to Sudan. He wrote "this has been an important time to be U.N. ambassador, especially as we attempt to enlist greater U.N. participation in Iraq, and as we advance the interest you have personally shown in helping the desperate people of Sudan".

In closing, he said "I hope you will always know I am your friend".

Ambassador Danforth is also an ordained Episcopalian minister. In that capacity, he presided over funeral services for former President Ronald Reagan earlier this year.