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Obama to nominate Kerry as next Secretary of State: reports

world Updated: Dec 16, 2012 23:04 IST

President Barack Obama has decided to nominate veteran Senator John Kerry, known for his relationship-building skills, as the next Secretary of State, US media reported on Sunday.

69-year-old Kerry, currently the chairman of the powerful Senate Foreign Relations Committee, has been a close confidant of Obama on foreign policy issues.

"President Obama has decided to nominate Sen John Kerry to be the next secretary of state and could make a formal announcement as early as next week," CNN reported.

Media reports said Obama made up his mind to nominate Kerry after his first choice, Susan Rice, the US Ambassador to the UN, withdrew herself from being considered for the post.

Rice dropped out of the running on Thursday after criticism from Republicans about her statements about the September attack on the US mission in Benghazi, Libya, which left four Americans dead, including Ambassador Chris Stevens.

If confirmed by the Senate, Kerry would replace Hillary Clinton, who has decided to leave the post by the end of the first term of the Obama Administration, which is January 20.

Kerry, the senior senator from Massachusetts and the Democratic Party's 2004 presidential nominee, is noted for the experience, gravitas and relationship-building skills that could help him succeed as the United States' top diplomat.

On many occasions, Kerry has come to the rescue of the Obama Administration, especially when it comes to the US ties with Pakistan, wherein he travelled several times to mend the strained relationship including the one in the immediate aftermath of the killing of al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.

He is also the author of the Kerry-Lugar-Berman bill that provided more than USD 7.5 billion in five years to Pakistan.

Unlike Rice, Kerry is expected to easily sail through the Senate confirmation process because of his long serving in the Senate and his good relationship with Republican Senators.