Trump names Robert C. O’Brien as new national security adviser

Robert C. O'Brien, newly appointed US National Security Adviser, speaking at the UN in New York. (Wikimedia Commons/File Photo)
Updated 18 September 2019

Trump names Robert C. O’Brien as new national security adviser

WASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump has named hostage negotiator Robert O'Brien to be his new national security adviser.

Trump tweeted Wednesday that he has "worked long & hard" with O'Brien and that "he will do a great job!"

Trump's announcement about O'Brien comes a week after he ousted John Bolton from the national security adviser's post, citing policy disagreements.

Bolton was Trump's third national security adviser. O'Brien has until now served as Trump's envoy for situations involving US hostages abroad.

O’Brien is an attorney from Los Angeles who has served as a foreign policy adviser to several Republican presidential campaigns, handled a number of high profile legal cases and previously served in several State Department positions, including as an alternative representative to the UN General Assembly in 2005.

Trump had been weighing a number of potential replacements after Bolton left the post last week over his handling of North Korea and Venezuela.

His previous national security advisers were H.R. McMaster, who was replaced by Bolton in March 2018, and Michael Flynn, who was fired shortly after taking the role and later pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI.

(With agencies)


Indonesia’s Indrawati to stay on as finance minister

Updated 2 min 42 sec ago

Indonesia’s Indrawati to stay on as finance minister

  • Widodo has since Monday tapped more than a dozen candidates for ministerial posts
  • Indrawati, a former managing director of the World Bank, has been finance minister in Southeast Asia’s largest economy since 2016

JAKARTA: Indonesian Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati said on Tuesday she had been asked by President Joko Widodo to stay on in her post as his new cabinet takes shape for a second five-year term in office.

Widodo has since Monday tapped more than a dozen candidates for ministerial posts, including his presidential election rival Prabowo Subianto, who looks set to be defense minister.

The candidates — all wearing white shirts — have come to the presidential palace to be interviewed by Widodo, with most declining to confirm the positions offered ahead of an official announcement expected on Wednesday.

After meeting Widodo, Indrawati said she had agreed to stay on as finance minister and to ensure policies supported the president’s priorities such as improving human resources, creating jobs and executing government budgets well.

“Indonesia I think is facing a very dynamic and uncertain global economy and an economic slowdown that is pressuring the whole world,” Indrawati said.

“Therefore, a continued policy is needed in order to be able to guard our economy from the challenge of this global slowdown,” she said, noting she also discussed ways to narrow Indonesia’s current account and trade deficits.

Indrawati, a former managing director of the World Bank, has been finance minister in Southeast Asia’s largest economy since 2016, spearheading tax reform efforts, seeking to capitalize on a tax amnesty program in 2016-2017. She is now one of the longest serving finance ministers in Indonesia, having also held the post in the previous administration of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.

“Sri Mulyani is seen as a key architect behind the fiscal discipline in recent years and many wish for her continued leadership in driving deeper fiscal reforms,” Bank of America wrote in a note.

The make-up of the cabinet is being closely watched to see how many technocrats — who are more likely to fall in with Widodo’s plans for boosting growth and investment — were included.

Other ministerial candidates who came to the palace on Tuesday included Basuki Hadimuljono, who is credited with driving infrastructure projects as public works minister in Widodo’s first term, and Siti Nurbaya Bakar, environment minister in the first term.

On Monday, Nadiem Makarim, the chief executive of tech startup Gojek and media tycoon Erick Thohir, a former chairman of Italian soccer club Inter Milan, were among those confirming they had been asked to join the cabinet.

Speaking to media ahead of his inauguration on Sunday, Widodo said around 16 ministers in the new cabinet would come from political parties out of an anticipated 34 posts.