US Senate confirms Blinken as Biden’s secretary of state | US & Canada Information

The United States Senate has confirmed Antony Blinken as the next US Secretary of State, the best diplomat in the country.

Blinken’s endorsement by a 78-22 vote signals broad political support for President Joe Biden’s promise of an American foreign policy centered on diplomacy and alliances.

“Mr. Blinken has a long and respected history of statecraft and external relations,” said Senator James Risch, a senior Republican foreign affairs officer who supported Blinken’s endorsement.

Biden’s new tone is a sharp departure from former President Donald Trump’s foreign policy, which irritated Washington’s allies in Europe, strained contacts within NATO and brought US-China relations to a new low.

In his confirmation hearing, Blinken said the new Biden administration would end US military support for the Saudi Arabia-led campaign in Yemen and seek a return to an Iranian nuclear deal negotiated by the Obama administration.

“We will revive American diplomacy in order to meet and accept the most pressing challenges of our time,” Blinken told the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations on January 19.

“American leadership is still important,” said Blinken, describing the world as a world defined by “increasing nationalism, receding democracy, growing rivalry between China and Russia and other authoritarian states.”

James Risch, the top Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, warned Blinken that lawmakers on Capitol Hill have deep concerns about Biden’s plan to renew a nuclear deal with Iran [Susan Walsh/Pool via Reuters]Blinken is a former White House National Security Aid and former Chief of Staff von Biden on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. He takes over the helm at the State Department after former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who has seen many career foreign service officers leave the Trump administration.

Turning to the Middle East, Blinken said during his confirmation hearing that the incoming Biden administration would seek to build on the recent US-brokered normalization agreements between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Morocco and Sudan.

Blinken stressed that US commitment to Israel’s security was “sacrosanct” and said the two-state solution, which has long been a core part of US policy on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, is “very much at this point challenged “.

At the same time, the Biden team will review some of the commitments Trump has made to motivate countries to get these deals with Israel, Blinken said.

The US recognized Morocco’s claim to the disputed area of ​​Western Sahara as part of a normalization agreement between Morocco and Israel. It removed Sudan from its list of “state sponsors of terrorism” after the Sudanese government reached an agreement with Israel.

US policy towards Iran is an area where Congressional Republicans and some Democrats are blinking that said it plans to renew the nuclear deal with a “longer and stronger deal.”

In the Senate’s remarks on Tuesday, Risch warned that reversing the US approach to Iran would continue to be a problematic concern for many lawmakers.

“There are people on both sides of the aisle who have real concerns about going back to the JCPOA, especially if it doesn’t have very significant sideboards on it,” said Risch.

The JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) is the official name for the nuclear deal that Iran signed in 2015 with the United States, Russia, China, the United Kingdom, France and Germany under the auspices of the United Nations Security Council.

Trump unilaterally withdrew from the Iranian nuclear pact in 2018 when his government pursued a strategy of “maximum pressure” against Tehran and Iran began enriching uranium more quickly, which came closer to producing a nuclear weapon.

Blinken said the murder of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani a year ago “made us less safe” in the region.

Blinken called China the US’s biggest foreign policy challenge and agreed to the general direction of the Trump administration’s tougher approach.

“The rationale was the right one,” Blinken said, adding that he, however, disagreed with some of the steps Trump was taking.

“We must first turn to China from a position of strength,” said Blinken, which “requires investments in the military to ensure that we can deter any aggression.”

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