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Canada’s Foreign Minister Quitting

September 18, 2000

TORONTO (AP) _ Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Lloyd Axworthy announced Monday that he will leave politics, saying he would step aside as his nation’s representative to the world as soon as the government chooses a replacement.

The 60-year-old former University of Winnipeg professor has worked to ban land mines, encouraged peacekeeping missions, supported development aid to poorer countries and emphasized negotiation over force.

``After more than 27 years in elected office, the time has come to pursue other opportunities outside government,″ Axworthy wrote in a letter Friday to Prime Minister Jean Chretien.

He told The Winnipeg Free Press he wants to spend more time with his wife, Denise, and son, Stephen, 15. He is expected to take a job directing The Liu Center for Global Issues, a think tank in the western province of British Columbia.

Axworthy will hold his post until Chretien appoints a replacement in a Cabinet shuffle or until the next federal election. Chretien has until the autumn of 2001 to set a date for voting.

First elected to the federal parliament in 1979, Axworthy rose to power in the Liberal Party governments of Pierre Trudeau, the popular former prime minister who retired in 1983.

Axworthy was a military and foreign affairs critic when his Liberal Party became the official opposition to Brian Mulroney’s Conservative government from 1984-93.

After Chretien came to power, he was minister of human resources development, from 1993-96, before being named foreign minister.

Axworthy’s announcement Monday came a day after winning promises from Sudan to free children conscripted into war. The agreement was reached during a weeklong conference in his hometown of Winnipeg.

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