US Ambassador for Religious Freedom Resigns

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The nation's U.S. ambassador for International Religious Freedom has stepped down, the State Department announced.

Dr. Suzan Johnson Cook held the position for the last year and a half.

President Barack Obama nominated the former Baptist pastor to the post after it sat vacant for nearly two years, prompting critics to question his administration's commitment to promoting religious liberty abroad.

Cook tried to highlight some violations but religious freedom advocates said she could have done more.

In a statement Thursday, the State Department said the U.S. will continue to call for "protection of religious minorities" and support international efforts "to combat religious intolerance in a manner that does not block the flow of free expression."

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