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EX-CIA Chief Mike Pompeo Confirmed as Secretary of State

The US Senate has confirmed former CIA director Mike Pompeo as secretary of state, ending a tough confirmation battle.

Mr Pompeo had been accused by Democrats of being a war hawk and harbouring anti-Muslim and homophobic views.

The Senate voted 57-42 to approve him as America’s top diplomat, the second of the Trump presidency.

His predecessor, Rex Tillerson, was sacked last month by the president via Twitter amid a personality clash.

Republican senators, who control the upper chamber, voted unanimously on Thursday to confirm Mr Pompeo. Six Democrats joined them.

Some of those Democrats – including North Dakota’s Heidi Heitkamp and West Virginia’s Joe Manchin – come from conservative-leaning states where President Donald Trump won in 2016, and are facing tough midterm elections in November.

The approval comes in time for Mr Pompeo to lead a US delegation to Nato foreign minister talks in Brussels this weekend.

He is expected to depart for the trip only hours after being formally confirmed.

In a statement, Mr Trump applauded his new secretary of state as someone who “will always put the interests of America first”.

“Having a patriot of Mike’s immense talent, energy, and intellect leading the Department of State will be an incredible asset for our country at this critical time in history,” he added.

Mr Pompeo has been arranging a summit between Mr Trump and North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un. The meeting is expected to be held in the coming months.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders tweeted a photo of Mr Pompeo watching on TV as the Senate held their vote.

Before he was confirmed, Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker, described him as the “perfect person to come in at this time and lead” talks with North Korea.

Over the Easter holiday he travelled to Pyongyang, where he met Mr Kim.

On Tuesday, Mr Trump described the North Korean ruler as “very honourable”, after months of deriding him as “Little Rocket Man”.

US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley also congratulated Mr Pompeo following the confirmation vote.

According to Israeli media, he is also expected to travel to Jerusalem next week to meet Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

During that trip he is also reportedly expected to visit Saudi Arabia and Jordan, according to US media.





Source: BBC

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