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.
<p>"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.</p><p>"I therefore believe the only honorable course of action is for me to resign."</p><p>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.</p><p>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.</p><p>"In recent days Mr (Simon) Crean and a number of other faceless men have publicly attacked my integrity and therefore my fitness to serve as a minister in the government," he said, referring to the former Labor leader.</p><p>"When challenged today on these attacks Prime Minister Gillard chose not to repudiate them. I can only reluctantly conclude that she therefore shares these views."</p><p>Reports earlier Wednesday said Gillard was so confident she has the support of Labor MPs she will call a leadership ballot on Tuesday.</p><p>They said that if Rudd loses, he would immediately be sacked as foreign minister by Gillard and moved to the backbench.</p>
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