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Last Updated: Friday, 7 May, 2004, 00:14 GMT 01:14 UK
Negroponte confirmed for Iraq job
US ambassador John Negroponte
Negroponte has been described as an outstanding professional
The US Senate has approved by an overwhelming majority President Bush's choice of John Negroponte as the first US ambassador to post-Saddam Iraq.

Mr Negroponte, currently the US envoy to the UN, is expected to take over in Baghdad when the US hands power to an interim Iraqi government after 30 June.

The new envoy will have the biggest US embassy in the world, with 1,700 staff.

One senator described the post as "the most difficult and... most dangerous job in American diplomacy".

Don't confuse a lack of a coherent policy with a lack in confidence in the ability of Ambassador Negroponte
Senator Joe Biden

Joe Biden, a Democrat, also urged his fellow senators to back the appointment despite concerns over the Republican administration's handling of Iraq.

"Don't confuse a lack of a coherent policy with a lack in confidence in the ability of Ambassador Negroponte," he said before Thursday's vote.

Mr Negroponte was endorsed by a vote of 95 to three.

When President Bush named him as his candidate for the embassy in April, he described him as a "a man of enormous experience and skill".

The 64-year-old career diplomat led attempts last year to win the UN Security Council's backing for war against Iraq.

Before that, he helped put together the international security force in Afghanistan after the overthrow of the Taleban government.

The current top US official in Iraq, Paul Bremer, is expected to leave once the political transition is completed.


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