US Senate committee approves Kerry as secretary of state

Washington, Jan 29 (IANS) The US Senate Foreign Relations Committee Tuesday unanimously approved the nomination of John Kerry as the new secretary of state.

The 69-year-old Kerry's nomination must be confirmed by a full Senate vote, due to take place later Tuesday. He is expected to win an easy confirmation by the Senate, Xinhua reported.

Kerry, a Democratic Senator, was nominated by President Barack Obama Dec 21 as the next chief diplomat of the country.

Kerry won a Silver Star, a Bronze Star and three Purple Hearts for his service in Vietnam from 1968 to 1969.

First elected to the Senate as a representative of Massachusetts in 1984, Kerry is serving his fifth term.

He was elected to chair the Foreign Relations Committee in December 2008 after then chairman Joe Biden was elected vice president.

Kerry launched a bid for the White House in 2004 but lost to then incumbent George W. Bush by a margin of 34 electoral votes.

As a reliable emissary of the Obama administration, Kerry went to talk Afghan President Hamid Karzai into agreeing to a run-off presidential election in 2009.

In 2011, he secured the release by Pakistan of a CIA contractor accused of killing two Pakistanis as well as the return of parts of a US stealth helicopter that crashed during the operation in which Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden was killed.


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