U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and United States Ambassador to Mexico Roberta Jacobson arrive at the Mexico City International Airport on Feb. 1. Photo: Getty

Roberta Jacobson, the well-admired U.S. ambassador to Mexico and career diplomat, saddened colleagues with news of her resignation.

Jacobson, 57, who has more than 30 years in government service, will vacate her post May 5.

Her long career has focused mainly on Latin America, where she served as assistant secretary of state for western hemisphere affairs, before coming to Mexico as ambassador. She is well-known and well-liked in Mexico, said a reporter for National Public Radio, a Washington-based news organization covering the exit.

“This is a huge loss, for both countries,” says Arturo Sarukhan, a former Mexican ambassador to the U.S. who has known and worked with Jacobson since the 1980s.

“The decision is all the more difficult because of my profound belief in the importance of the U.S.–Mexico relationship and knowledge that it is at a crucial moment,” Jacobson said in a note to embassy staff.

Jacobson, who was appointed by President Obama in 2016, did not give a reason for her resignation, but the strain in the countries’ relations made her job particularly difficult.

Trump’s disparaging comments about Mexicans and immigrants, as well as his continued calls for Mexico to pay for a U.S. border wall, made diplomacy a challenge. Add to that the tense telephone conversation last month between Trump and Mexico’s President Enrique Peña Nieto, which derailed a planned face-to-face meeting between the two leaders.

Additionally, NAFTA negotiators are locked in the seventh round, and Trump has frequently threatened to walk away from the trade pact.

“This has been a very challenging time and my respect for Roberta [Jacobson] has been extremely high, she has had to maneuver this with a great deal of skill,” said one former U.S. diplomat.

Source: National Public Radio

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