WASHINGTON, December 21. /TASS/. US Secretary of Defense James Mattis tendered his resignation over disagreements with US President Donald Trump, according to his resignation letter dated December 20.
"Because you have the right to have a Secretary of Defense whose views are better aligned with yours <…>, I believe it is right for me to step down from my position. The end date for my tenure is February 28, 2019, a date that should allow sufficient time for a successor to be nominated and confirmed [by the US Senate]," reads the letter, widely published by the US media.
The letter mentions disagreements between the president and Mattis on strategic issues, including relations with Moscow and Beijing.
"I believe we must be resolute and unambiguous in our approach to those countries whose strategic interests are increasingly in tension with ours," Mattis said, accusing Russia and China of trying to gain a "veto authority over other nations' economic, diplomatic, and security decisions - to promote their own interests."
"One core belief I have always held is that our strength as a nation is inextricably linked to the strength of our unique and comprehensive system of alliances and partnerships," he added. "We cannot protect our interests or serve that role effectively without maintaining strong alliances and showing respect to those allies."
As an example of a successful alliance, Mattis named the US-led coalition to fight the Islamic State terrorist group (outlawed in Russia) in Syria.
On Thursday, Trump announced that Mattis would resign in late February, and a new candidacy will be nominated in the near future. Reuters reported, citing a high-ranked White House official, that Mattis announced his resignation during Thursday’s meeting with the president, during which the US defense secretary and Trump had a disagreement on some issues.