Pompeo sworn in as US top diplomat as challenges loom

Pompeo sworn in as US top diplomat as challenges loom
  • Clock-gray 19:37
  • calendar-gray 02 May 2018

U.S. President Donald Trump made his first visit to the State Department on Wednesday to swear in Mike Pompeo as America's chief diplomat, APA reports quoting Reuters.


The ceremonial swearing in comes just under a week after Pompeo won Senate approval to assume the post following a contentious confirmation process. He was officially sworn in hours later before departing Washington for a meeting of NATO foreign ministers in Brussels.


Pompeo, who previously led the CIA, is taking the reigns from former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson who was abruptly fired by Trump via Twitter.


Trump hailed his new top diplomat, telling Pompeo: “I have no doubt that you will make America proud as our nation’s chief diplomat.”


Addressing his new employees, Pompeo said he wants "the State Department to get its swagger back" as it faces a host of major foreign policy issues, including an approaching historic meeting between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, and Trump's decision on whether he will keep the U.S. a party to the nuclear deal world powers signed with Iran. Trump has set a deadline of May 12 to make the decision.


Pompeo will have to tackle the challenges with a diplomatic corps whose senior ranks have been gutted by resignations, retirements and firings.


Trump has been slow to nominate replacements and those who have been nominated have faced difficulties in receiving Senate confirmation. In all, the department faces a full 43 vacancies of assistant secretaries and other senior officials, according to the State Department website.


Despite its reduced manpower, Pompeo was quick to cite the diplomatic challenges ahead, making note particularly of U.S.-led efforts to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula.


"Right now we have an unprecedented opportunity to change the course of history on the Korean Peninsula," he said. "I underscore the word ‘opportunity’. We are in the beginning stages of the work and the outcome is certainly yet unknown."


"It’s time to solve this once and for all. A bad deal is not an option. The American people are counting on us to get this right. We are committed to the permanent, verifiable, irreversible dismantling of North Korea’s weapons of mass destructions program and to do so without delay,” Pompeo added.

Ceyhun Aliyev

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