30 Jan 2013

John Kerry approved as US Secretary of State

3:54 pm on 30 January 2013

The US Senate has approved John Kerry as the next Secretary of State.

President Barack Obama had nominated Mr Kerry to replace Hillary Clinton, who stands down at the end of the week after serving four years in the job as the top diplomat.

Mr Kerry's confirmation after a 94-3 vote was met with applause on the Senate floor, the BBC reports.

A Vietnam veteran and senator since 1985, Senator Kerry from Massachusetts was the Democratic presidential candidate in 2004 but lost to Republican George W Bush.

The 69-year-old first came to national attention as part of his involvement with Vietnam Veterans Against the War.

He served on the Senate foreign relations committee himself for 28 years, and chaired it for four.

His nomination is part of Mr Obama's second-term cabinet reshuffle.

Senator Kerry was put forward after US ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice withdrew from consideration in December last year.

Republicans had fiercely criticised her response to the deadly attack on the US consulate in Benghazi, Libya, last September.

Former Senator Chuck Hagel, Mr Obama's pick for secretary of defence, will face a confirmation hearing later this week.