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US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has outlined plans to eliminate or outsource at least 30 special envoy roles at the US State Department, including the role of US special envoy for climate change.

The plans, which will cut around half of the current envoy posts in the Department, were set out in a letter to the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee which was first reported by CNN yesterday.

“I believe that the Department will be able to better execute its mission by integrating certain envoys and special representative offices within the regional and functional bureaus and eliminating those that have accomplished or outlived their original purpose,” Tillerson said in the letter, addressed to Committee chair and US Republican Senator Bob Corker.

Of the 66 envoy positions currently at the State Department, 30 will be kept, 21 will be integrated into bureaus, five will be folded into existing positions and nine eliminated altogether. The US special envoy for climate change is one of those slated to be eliminated entirely.

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