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Ex-oil chief Tillerson confirmed as US Secretary of State


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Ex-oil chief Tillerson confirmed as US Secretary of State

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Democrats in the Senate attempted to delay the vote, but in the end Rex Tillerson has been confirmed as President Trump’s Secretary of State.

The former chief executive of oil company Exxon Mobil had the backing of 56 senators, with 43 voting against him.

The confirmation comes despite concerns about Tillerson’s connections with Russia.

Republican Senator John Cornyn said: “Our country is no longer respected by many of our friends around the world because we have withdrawn from international leadership.

“We are no longer feared by our adversaries, who are all too quick to fill the leadership vacuum around the world … Russia being perhaps the most obvious example, not only in Crimea and Ukraine but obviously, in Syria and now in Libya. And it’s dangerous, it’s destabilising.

“So I’m really pleased that we’ll have a new secretary of state, and a new national security leadership team. If there’s one thing that I think President Trump has done right is select good people.”

But Democrat Senator Martin Heinrich said: “Right now, when we are trying to hold Russia accountable for its illegal aggression in Eastern Europe, for its war crimes in Aleppo, and its interference in our own nations election.

“How on earth can we trust someone with such a cozy relationship with the Putin government to be our secretary of state?”

There was also concern in the Senate that Tillerson has failed to promise to recuse himself from matters related to Exxon Mobil for the whole time he is Secretary of State and not just for the one year period required by law.

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