Pompeo says diplomats’ morale good in shutdown

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Mike Pompeo (Photo: US House of Representatives)

WASHINGTON (AP) – Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (pahm-PAY’-oh) says American diplomats’ morale remains “good” despite the government shutdown that’s left many of them working without pay.

Pompeo is traveling in the Middle East as the shutdown is set to enter its fourth week. He says that diplomats realize political “squabbles in Washington” are prolonging the closure.

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But he says they also understand that “their mission remains, their duties continue and they’re executing them.”

Almost half of State Department employees in the United States and about one-quarter abroad have been furloughed during the shutdown. And with the exception of certain local employees overseas, the rest are working without pay.

Even with the government closed, Pompeo says while in the United Arab Emirates that he still plans to host all U.S. ambassadors for a conference in Washington next week.