Former US secretary of state Henry Kissinger has applauded President-elect Donald Trump’s selection of ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillersron for America’s next top diplomat.
Trump selected Tillersron on Tuesday to lead the State Department in his incoming administration, ignoring concerns about the oil chief’s business relations with Russia.
Speaking at an event in Manhattan in New York City on Wednesday, Kissinger dismissed concerns about Tillerson’s close ties with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“I pay no attention to this argument that he is too friendly with Russia,” Kissinger said, according to Politico. “He would be useless at the head of Exxon if he was not friendly with Russia… I don’t hear those concerns at all.”
Tillerson has reportedly close business relations with Russia and was awarded “Order of Friendship” — one of the country’s most prestigious awards given to foreign nationals — by the Russian government in 2013.
Under Tillerson’s management, the energy giant ExxonMobil negotiated a major energy deal with Moscow in 2011, according to The Wall Street Journal. Putin said at the time that the deal could be worth over $500 billion.
“Nobody can meet every single qualification for secretary of state,” Kissinger said. “I think it’s a good appointment.”
James Jatras, a former US Senate foreign policy analyst, told Press TV on Tuesday that Trump’s appointment of Tillersron as his secretary of state shows that the president-elect is determined to improve ties with Russia and is even undaunted by a possible coup attempt by the CIA and the media.
“Trump’s selection of Rex Tillersron shows that he has a very definite idea of where he wants to go in improving relations with Moscow,” he stated.
The analyst said Trump’s appointment of Tillersron “shows that he is not backing down on this at all.”