US & Canada

US Senate approves John Kerry as secretary of state

US Senator John Kerry leaves a Senate Foreign Relations Committee markup after they held a vote on Kerry as Secretary of State, at the US Capitol in Washington, DC 29 January 2013
Image caption John Kerry served on the Senate foreign relations committee, which approved his nomination on Tuesday, for 28 years

The US Senate has approved Senator John Kerry's nomination as secretary of state, after he was backed unanimously by the foreign relations committee.

His confirmation after a 94-3 vote was met with applause on the Senate floor.

President Barack Obama chose the Massachusetts Democrat to succeed Hillary Clinton, who is stepping down after four years, as his top diplomat.

A Vietnam veteran and senator since 1985, Sen Kerry was the Democratic presidential candidate in 2004.

Sen Kerry, 69, 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.

Sen Kerry was put forward after the US ambassador to the UN, Susan Rice, withdrew from consideration in December.

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

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

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