Australia's FM Rudd resigns amid leadership speculation

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Mar 5, 2010
SYDNEY: Australian Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd Wednesday resigned, saying he could not continue without Prime Minister Julia Gillard's support amid speculation he will challenge her for the leadership.

"The simple truth is that I cannot continue to serve as foreign minister if I don't have Prime Minister Gillard's support," he said in a late night press conference in Washington broadcast live in Australia.

"I therefore believe the only honorable course of action is for me to resign."

Australia's Labor government has been torn by speculation about whether Rudd, who Gillard suddenly ousted as a prime minister in mid-2010 but who remains hugely popular, would mount a bid to return to the top job.

The globe-trotting diplomat said he would head back to Australia this week and make a full statement on his future before parliament resumes on Monday. (AFP)