Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Tuesday assured the world a smooth transition after US elections but declined to concede President-elect Joe Biden's victory, saying Donald Trump will stay in power.

There will be a smooth transition to a second Trump administration, Pompeo said in an at times testy news conference when questioned about contacts with the Biden team.

The world should have every conviction that the transition is necessary to ensure that the State Department is effective today... with the president who is in office on January 20 a minute after noon will be successful, he said, pointing out to the date of the presidential coronation.

World leaders including almost all US allies have congratulated Biden, who has achieved invincible leads in key states as well as a securing edge in the nationwide popular vote. But Trump has declined to admit the November 3 election and has alleged massive fraud, calling for recounts and legal action.

Questioned if the United States can still issue statements calling for free elections around the world, Pompeo said the question was "absurd."

This department bothers deeply to ensure that elections around the world are safe and secure and free and fair, and my officers risk their lives to ensure that that happens, he said.

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