The vision of US President Barack Obama and its implementation over the last four years has restored America's reputation and place in the world, the new secretary of state John Kerry said on Monday.
"I think it is beyond fair to say that this president's vision and what he has
implemented through your efforts over the course of the last four years, without any question, has restored America's reputation and place in the world, and we thank you for what you have done to do that," Kerry said.
He was addressing the employees of the State Department, on his first work day as the top American diplomat at the Foggy Bottom headquarters.
Sworn in on Friday, 69-year-old Kerry was earlier chairman of the powerful Senate Foreign Relations Committee, replacing Hillary Clinton as the secretary of state.
Safety and security of Americans would be his top priority, Kerry said.
"We get to try to make our nation safer. We get to try to make peace in the world, a world where there is far too much conflict, far too much killing. There are alternatives," he said.
"We get to lift people out of poverty. We get to try to cure disease. We get to try to empower people with human rights. We get to speak to those who have no voice. We get to talk about empowering people through our ideals, and through those ideals, hopefully, they can change their lives," said the top American diplomat.
"It is also true that Foreign Service is in my genes and everything that we do here is," he said.
Kerry said everything he will do in this capacity would be focused on the security and safety of Americans.
"We have tough decisions to make, but I guarantee I'll do everything I can to live up to the high standards that secretary Clinton and her team put in place," he said.
In his remarks, Kerry highly appreciated the work done by his predecessor Clinton.
"She tirelessly advocated the values of our country and pushed for the accomplishment of any number of things to advance the interests of our nation," he said.
"I know from my conversations with Hillary how passionate she was about this undertaking and how much confidence and gratitude she had for the work that every single one of you do, and I just want to join with all of you today in saying to her: Job well done. The nation is grateful. The world is grateful," Kerry said.