CTV.ca News Staff
The White House is expected to announce today that U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell will resign from the Bush administration, according to a U.S. official.
Powell told his aides today that he would be leaving, officials told The Associated Press, on condition of anonymity.
Several reports had previously predicted that Powell would not serve in a second-term cabinet under U.S. President George Bush. Powell himself had also suggested as much.
CTV's Alan Fryer says there had been reports that Powell was going to delay a resignation announcement until early 2005. However, he said Yasser Arafat's death may have spurred him to step down now.
Amid talk of renewed peace efforts, there was speculation Powell could go to the Middle East as early as next week to get this started.
'And he probably said to himself, 'Look, I'm not going to be the one to shepherd this through, so it's probably best if you pick a replacement now,' Fryer told Newsnet, reporting from Washington.
News of Powell's resignation comes amid a series of step downs in Bush's cabinet. However, it is not uncommon for there to be a major turnover at the end of a first term.
Last week, Attorney General John Ashcroft and Commerce Secretary Don Evans both announced their resignations.
Ashcroft was replaced by White House counsel Alberto Gonzales, a Texas confidant and one of the most prominent Hispanics in the administration.
Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham announced his resignation Monday
The White House is expected to announce the resignation of Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman
Education Secretary Rod Paige will also reportedly announce his resignation Monday
CNN is reporting that Powell will stay on until a replacement can be found.
As for who might replace him, that is unclear. One possible successor being named by media reports is UN Ambassador John Danforth.
During Powell's term as Secretary of State, it was widely reported that he found himself sidelined on several occasions by such heavyweights as Vice-President Dick Cheney and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld.
The international community had a high opinion of Powell before the U.S.-led war in Iraq, when relations between the United States and the rest of the world became strained over a unilateral decision to proceed with a military campaign.
Powell's international reputation was slightly damaged when he led the Bush administration argument at the United Nations for an attack on Iraq to oust Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.
Fryer said he believes that the decision to resign is partly due to calls from Powell's wife, Alma, to spend more time with her and their three children. She was the one who talked him out of taking a run at the presidency in the 1990s.
Powell has held many top positions, including chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and national security adviser to former U.S. president Ronald Reagan.
He has also won many awards for his 35-year-long military career, including the Bronze Star Medal and the Purple Heart. His civilian awards include two Presidential Medals of Freedom and the Congressional Gold Medal.