The U.S. assistant secretary of state for Western Hemisphere Affairs, Arturo Valenzuela, will leave government service to return to teaching, a State Department official told Efe.

Valenzuela's two-year leave of absence from his professorship at Georgetown University is up, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

While classes resume at Georgetown in August, Valenzuela will remain at the State Department until a replacement is named, the source said.

No names of possible successors have emerged.

The Chilean-born Valenzuela assumed the post of assistant secretary in November 2009, six months after he was nominated by President Barack Obama.

The confirmation was held up by Sen. Jim DeMint (R- S.C.), who objected to the Obama administration's opposition - largely symbolic as it was - to the military coup that ousted Honduran President Mel Zelaya.

Valenzuela succeeded Thomas Shannon, who served as assistant secretary for nearly four years before becoming U.S. ambassador to Brazil.