Susan Rice, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations who on Thursday withdrew her name from consideration for Secretary of State, has a reputation for toughness. How tough? Her Russian counterpart, ambassador to the UN Vitaly Churkin, joked that he would request "double pay" if Rice stayed at the UN. Churkin, who is likely accustomed to diplomatic combat with Rice, called her "one tough individual" and said their relationship was "most of the time friendly."
Churkin's comments, to PBS Newshour host Judy Woodruff, come after months of diplomatic tension between the U.S. and Russia over Syria, where Moscow provides crucial support to Bashar al-Assad's regime. Also on Thursday, Russia' deputy foreign minister said for the first time that Assad was seeing setbacks and could lose. Rice withdrew amid political opposition in the senate over her remarks after the September attack on the U.S. diplomatic outpost in Benghazi, Libya.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Finally, Mr. Ambassador, let me ask you about a development
here in the United States today. I'm sure you're aware that the U.S.
ambassador to the United States, Susan Rice, whom you know and whom you
have worked with, has now withdrawn her name from consideration to be the
U.S. secretary of state.
Do you have a reaction to that?
VITALY CHURKIN: Not really. It's Ambassador Rice's decision.
The only thing I can say is that, if it means that Ambassador Rice is going
to spend four more years in the United Nations, I will have to ask for
JUDY WOODRUFF: Why -- why do you say that?
VITALY CHURKIN: She has been -- she has been one tough individual in the
But we have had, I think, sometimes a stormy, but most of the time friendly
relationship with her. So, I would be looking forward to that, particularly
if I'm given double pay for an additional -- for the additional effort.
JUDY WOODRUFF: And do you think the fact that she won't be secretary of
state is a loss for the United States?
VITALY CHURKIN: You know, I don't want to get into that. This is definitely
a domestic matter for the United States.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, Amb. Vitaly Churkin, we thank you for being with us.
VITALY CHURKIN: Thank you.