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Senate Confirms New U.S. Russia Envoy

Michael McFaul

Michael McFaul

The United States Senate has confirmed President Barack Obama's nominee to be the new U.S. ambassador to Moscow, Michael McFaul, after a delay of several months.

Senators approved the nomination of McFaul, who has served as the chief Russia adviser on Obama's National Security Council, in a unanimous voice vote on December 17.

The confirmation came days after Senator Mark Kirk (Republican-Illinois) lifted the block on the nomination that he had imposed over concerns about the security of U.S. missile-defense technology.

Kirk lifted his objections after the White House wrote him a letter assuring him that the United States would "not provide Russia with sensitive information" about U.S. missile-defense systems.

The United States has been discussing missile defense with Russia in an attempt to convince Moscow that a planned missile-defense system in Europe is not directed against Russia.

McFaul is considered one of the architects of the "reset" of U.S.-Russian relations pursued by Obama's administration, and has been involved in initiatives including the New START treaty, signed by Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, on reducing the number of strategic nuclear warheads held by Washington and Moscow.

McFaul will replace the current U.S. ambassador to Russia, John Beyrle.

compiled from agency reports