The US Senate on Thursday, April 26, confirmed the appointment of Mike Pompeo as the new US secretary of state and he immediately set off for his first assignment to meet key American allies in Europe and West Asia.
Pompeo got the job after winning on 57-42 votes - quite a slim one to his discomfort. The yes votes he got were one more than his predecessor Rex Tillerson, one of the lowest received by nominees since at least the Jimmy Carter administration, AP reported. Pompeo was sworn in at the US Supreme Court by Justice Samuel Alito.
Pompeo, who served as the chief of the Central Intelligence Agency prior to his appointment for the top post, made the headlines recently for some important reasons.
He paid a secret visit to North Korea during the Easter to meet its supreme leader Kim Jong-un to pave way for the widely anticipated talks between Kim and President Trump over Pyongyang's denuclearisation.
Secondly, he faced a stiff resistance from the Democrats who objected to his nomination for the position of secretary of state on grounds of his harsh statements on Indians, Muslims and homosexuality. They said a secretary of state with such hawkish mindset could imperil the USA's foreign relations.
Pompeo, 54, is a former army officer and a Republican congressman who is regarded as a loyalist to President Trump. He filled up the position of the secretary of state after the ouster of Tillerson in March end. John Sullivan was serving as the acting secretary of state in the interim period.
Soon after his swearing-in, the US State Department informed that Pompeo was to participate in a Nato meeting in Brussels and then visit Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Israel this weekend. Iran is likely to the most important topic of discussion during Pompeo's visit, Reuters said.