US Senate confirms John Kerry as Secretary of State
Washington: Veteran Senator John Kerry, known for his relationship-building skills, is all set to replace Hillary Clinton as the new US Secretary of State after the Senate overwhelmingly confirmed his nomination.
69-year-old Kerry, currently the chairman of the powerful Senate Foreign Relations Committee, has been a close confidant of President Barack Obama on foreign policy issues especially on the volatile Af-Pak region.
The nomination of Kerry, a Vietnam war veteran, was confirmed yesterday by 94-3, with all three negative votes coming from Republican Senators James Inhofe, Ted Cruz and John Cornyn, who is Co-Chair of the Senate India Caucus.
This is the first Cabinet selection during Obama's second term to be confirmed by the Senate. Friday is the last working day for 65-year-old Secretary of State Clinton.
Senator Robert Menendez, incoming Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, noted that Kerry was the best choice to head the State Department.
"When it comes to our role in world affairs, we agree that it is critical for the US to remain fully engaged and to project not only the power of our military strength where necessary, but the wisdom of our democratic ideals," he said.
Kerry's exhaustive experience and his relationship with global leaders will significantly help the US in its foreign policy matters, he noted.
Exuding confidence in Kerry, Senator Frank Lautenberg noted the wide support for the diplomat reflected his great qualifications and ability to build global relationships.
Senator Ben Cardin said Kerry's legacy of fighting for democracy, human rights and global peace will continue at the Department of State.
"He played a key role in bringing our troops home from Iraq and ending the war, and has been an advocate for peace and democratic transition in some of the most challenging conflict zones, from Sudan to Afghanistan," Cardin said.
Kerry was nominated for the post by President Obama in December last year, nearly a month after the Democrat secured a second term in office.