Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld is stepping down following a poor Republican result in the US mid-term elections.
Donald Rumsfeld was known around the world for the Iraq war
International figures have been giving their reaction to the development, which may herald a new US approach to the conflict in Iraq.
JOHN HOWARD, AUSTRALIAN PRIME MINISTER
Clearly the president has reacted to the vote, obviously he has, and that is sensible, but his reaction does not amount to a fundamental change in direction. Although they are clearly looking for ways in which their
tactics may change, their strategy is not going to change. They are not going to suddenly pull out of Iraq.
ROMANO PRODI, ITALIAN PRIME MINISTER
Even though US politics had already started changing, Rumsfeld's resignation means an accentuation of this change. We'll see over the next few days what the new direction will be.
SPOKESMAN FOR AFGHAN PRESIDENT HAMID KARZAI
We are sad that he has resigned. We in Afghanistan are very pleased and very grateful for [Rumsfeld's] support for Afghanistan.
HUGO CHAVEZ, VENEZUELAN PRESIDENT
I think Bush has fallen... the collapse is starting, heads are starting to roll, fortunately peacefully. Now is the time to step down.
SPOKESMAN FOR IRAQI CLERIC MOQTADA AL-SADR
We hope the Democrats don't forget their campaign promises. If they don't, we will deal with them in a
brotherly way once the last American soldier pulls out from Iraq.
ANDRE FLAHAUT, BELGIAN DEFENCE MINISTER
Mr Rumsfeld was always a determined person, to the point of being obstinate, who never took the trouble to take the opinions
of other defence ministers into account.
It's a great victory for the Democrats in the United States and the departure of Mr Rumsfeld is an additional victory for them.
SERGEY IVANOV, RUSSIAN DEFENCE MINISTER
Personally, I have very good impressions and memories of Mr Rumsfeld. And I hope, I'm even sure, that despite him leaving his post, we nevertheless will meet again.
MICHELE ALLIOT-MARIE, FRENCH DEFENCE MINISTER
Donald Rumsfeld must have considered that the Iraq war, to which he had so much committed himself, was an element in Americans' response in the election, and he has taken the consequences.
SHIMON PERES, ISRAELI VICE-PREMIER
Rumsfeld has his own view and his own way and he didn't hide it, he made it known, he fought for his ideas but American public opinion apparently didn't approve it this time. Like in democracy, he has had to draw the conclusions, but I have the highest admiration for him as a man, as a person, whether you agree with his view or don't agree.