Hillary Clinton bids farewell to staff

Top US diplomat ends four-year tenure, handing over reins to Senator John Kerry.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton spent much of her last day in office saying goodbye to the people she’s worked with for the past four years. Clinton met with her senior staff in the morning, and also said  farewell to staffers in various departments.

At her departure ceremony in the afternoon, she thanked the hundreds of employees gathered in the main lobby.

“I have seen day after day the many contributions that our diplomats and development experts are making to help ensure this century provides the kind of peace, progress and prosperity, not just the United States, but the entire world, especially young people, so richly deserve,” she said.

She did, however, also work on her last day. In the early morning, she was alerted to the attack on the US Embassy in Ankara and made phone calls to the ambassador and Turkish foreign minister. She addressed the incident in her farewell to the staff as a reason to redouble their efforts: “I spoke with the ambassador and the team there, I spoke with my Turkish counterpart, and I told them how much we valued their commitment and their sacrifice.”

After making her short remarks, Clinton hugged Deputy Secretaries Bill Burns and Tom Nides. Then she shook a few hands, posed for a few pictures and left. 

Massachusetts Senator John Kerry took the oath of office in a private ceremony shortly after Clinton departed. The 68th Secretary of State is expected to arrive at the State Department on Monday morning and address the staff about his vision and goals. Clinton gave an endorsement of Kerry during her goodbye.

“Next week I would expect that all of you will be as focused and dedicated for Secretary Kerry as you have been for me.”