US ambassador to Qatar’s assignment ends this month

The U.S. ambassador to Qatar announced Tuesday that her three-year posting in the Persian Gulf nation will come to end this month.

“This month, I end my 3 years as U.S. Ambassador to #Qatar. It has been the greatest honor of my life and I'll miss this great country,” Ambassador Dana Shell Smith wrote on Twitter.

 

 

Confusion over Smith’s assignment at the State Department erupted earlier Tuesday, when CNBC’s John Harwood reported that Smith had resigned over President Trump’s recent row with Qatar.

But Smith, a career diplomat who was appointed to her post by former President Barack Obama and confirmed by the Senate in July 2014, made the decision to leave the Foreign Service earlier this year and will depart from Qatar in accordance with the normal rotation, according to the State Department.

“Ambassador Dana Smith's assignment as Ambassador comes to an end this month and she will depart Qatar later this month as part of the normal rotation of career diplomats throughout the world,” a State Department official said in an email to The Hill.

“We wish her the best as she moves on from the Department of State.”

Smith previously appeared to criticize the Trump administration in a tweet that came before the president’s comments on Qatar.

“Increasingly difficult to wake up overseas to news from home, knowing I will spend today explaining our democracy and institutions,” Smith tweeted last month. 

Trump slammed Qatar last week, charging that the nation funds terrorism. His comments came amid a regional diplomatic crisis, with Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia cutting economic and diplomatic ties with Qatar last week.

“I've decided, along with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, our great generals, and military people, the time has come to call on Qatar to end its funding,” the president said Friday. 

Qatar has hired the lobbying firm run by former Attorney General John Ashcroft as it works to push back against Trump’s claim that it provides support to terrorist groups.

This report was updated at 11:41 a.m.