Thursday, September 16, 2021

US Senate confirms Haley as UN ambassador

Washington, Jan 24 (EFE).- The US Senate on Tuesday confirmed former Republican South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley as Washington’s next ambassador to the United Nations.

In an overwhelming 96-4 vote, Haley had no problem winning confirmation as envoy to the international body after obtaining the approval of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee just a few hours earlier.

US Republican Governor from South Carolina Nikki Haley appears before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on her nomination to be US Representative to the United Nations, on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, USA, 18 January 2017. EPA/MICHAEL REYNOLDS

In that committee, just two Democratic senators – Chris Coons of Delaware and Tom Udall of New Mexico – expressed reservations about her confirmation.

Haley, who during the election campaign made her differences with then-Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump clear, in her confirmation hearings styled herself as an independent voice who will try, along with other members of the Cabinet, to moderate some of the more controversial views held by the president.

Despite her scanty experience in international relations, the former governor surprised lawmakers by displaying her clear opposition to Russia’s recent actions in Syria and Ukraine, along with her commitment to strengthen the NATO alliance, in direct counterpoint to Trump’s own statements.

“I was reassured by Gov. Haley’s unequivocal opposition to President Trump’s alarming statements regarding Russian war crimes in Syria, her clear grasp of the importance of U.S. engagement in international institutions,” said Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) in explaining his vote for her.

Haley also expressed her strong support for Israel in the United Nations after the administration of former President Barack Obama was more ambiguous in that regard, especially in condemning the controversial expansion of Israeli settlements on Palestinian territory.

Sen. Coons, who had opposed Haley’s nomination, said Tuesday in a statement that he did so because “The position of US ambassador to the United Nations requires a high level of expertise on international affairs, not someone who will be learning on the job.”