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Hillary Clinton has said an emotional goodbye to staff at the State Department before standing down as the face and the voice of US foreign policy around the world.

After four years in the job she said she was more optimistic than at the start, and she believes the world is a safer place than it was then.

“I am very proud to have been Secretary of State. I will miss you. I will probably be dialling ops (operations) just to talk,” she told state department staff in Washington.

Clinton was America’s third woman to head the State Department. Taking her place is the Massachussetts Democrat John Kerry, who was sworn in on Friday.

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