US President Donald Trump has accepted the surprise resignation of UN Ambassador Nikki Haley.
He told reporters Mrs Haley would be leaving the post at the end of the year after doing “an incredible job”.
Joined by the former South Carolina governor in the Oval Office, he invited her to come back in a different role. “You can have your pick,” he said.
One of the few women in the Trump cabinet, she gave no reason for her exit after two years.
But Mrs Haley, 46, told reporters that despite speculation, she was not planning to run for president in 2020.
She said she would be campaigning for “this one”, pointing to Mr Trump.
“I don’t have anything set on where I’m going to go,” Mrs Haley said.
“It’s been eight years of intense time, and I’m a believer in term limits.
“I think you have to be selfless enough to know when you step aside and allow someone else do the job.”
She told Mr Trump: “Thank you, Mr President. It has been an honour of a lifetime.”
Her Twitter bio had already removed all reference to her role as UN envoy even before her departure was confirmed.
Mr Trump said Mrs Haley had told him six months ago she wanted to take some time off.
The president said she “has been very special to me, she has done an incredible job, she is a fantastic person, very importantly, but she is also somebody that gets it”.
“We’ve done a fantastic job together,” he continued. “We’ve solved a lot of problems, and we’re in the process of solving a lot of problems.”
“Hopefully you’ll be coming back at some point, right,” Mr Trump said. “Maybe a different capacity, you can have your pick.” Mrs Haley laughed.
Mr Trump also told reporters: “She’s made it a very glamorous position.”
He added that he would be naming her replacement in the next two to three weeks.
The president said “very good people” are interested in taking up her role. (Excerpts from BBC)