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Kerry Confirmed As Next U.S. Secretary Of State

The U.S. Senate has confirmed Massachusetts Senator John Kerry as the next secretary of state.

The January 29 approval came by a 94-3 margin.

Once sworn in, Kerry will replace Hillary Clinton, who is stepping down after four years in the post.

The vote came just hours after the Foreign Relations Committee approved his nomination by voice vote.

READ: A Profile of John Kerry

Kerry has led the committee for the past four years.

The 69-year-old Kerry is a decorated Vietnam veteran and the 2004 Democratic presidential candidate.

As chairman since 2009 of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Kerry has been active in policy toward Afghanistan and Pakistan.

President Barack Obama praised Kerry's efforts to push the New START nuclear arms reduction treaty with Russia through the Senate and his engagement on Sudan and South Sudan.

In confirmation hearings last week, Kerry pointed to challenges ranging from Iran's nuclear program to Syria and the Arab Spring as well as economic challenges threatening the U.S. role as the world's superpower.

Based on reporting by AP and dpa