Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

MEDIAWATCH

No strategy and a beige suit

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 29 August 2014 (part 2)

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 29 August 2014

Read more

ENCORE!

Alain Choquette: A Hilarious Magician in Paris

Read more

FOCUS

France welcomes Iraqi Christian refugees

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

Emmanuel Macron: A new economy minister with a pro-business agenda

Read more

THE OBSERVERS

More of this year's best Observers stories

Read more

#TECH 24

Changing the world, one video game at a time

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Socialist Party summer conference kicks off in explosive atmosphere

Read more

  • Exclusive: Fabius warns of further sanctions against Russia

    Read more

  • British killer escapes from French psychiatric hospital

    Read more

  • First case of Ebola confirmed in Senegal

    Read more

  • Police hunt for British boy with brain tumour taken to France

    Read more

  • Chelsea’s Torres set for AC Milan switch

    Read more

  • Ukraine to relaunch NATO membership bid

    Read more

  • France shines in IMF list of world’s promising economists

    Read more

  • Mapping Ukraine: Canada and Russia in ‘tweet for tat’ row

    Read more

  • Obama has 'no strategy yet' on potential Syria strikes

    Read more

  • Netflix to woo French with ‘House of Cards’ set in Marseille

    Read more

  • French businesses ‘hoping for a new Thatcher’

    Read more

  • Syrian refugees surpass 3 million, UN says

    Read more

  • West backs Ukrainian claims of Russian incursion

    Read more

  • Libyan PM resigns as Islamists set up rival administration

    Read more

  • UN says 43 peacekeepers captured in Golan Heights

    Read more

  • The deleted tweets of Manuel Valls

    Read more

  • Peru seizes record 6.5 tonnes of Europe-bound cocaine

    Read more

  • Pakistan army to mediate between PM, protesters

    Read more

  • In pictures: Billions of locusts invade Madagascan capital

    Read more

  • Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie say ‘I do’ in France

    Read more

Americas

Senate confirms Hill as Iraq ambassador

Latest update : 2009-04-22

Veteran diplomat Christopher Hill has been confirmed as the USA's ambassador to Iraq by the US Senate. Supporters said his experience handling diplomacy on North Korea and in the Balkans would help Iraq as the US begins to withdraw.

AFP - The US Senate on Tuesday easily confirmed veteran diplomat Christopher Hill to be ambassador to Baghdad after weeks of bitter debate over his handling of the six-country nuclear talks with North Korea.
   
Senators voted 73-23 to approve President Barack Obama's choice for one of the most sensitive US diplomatic posts, in which Hill will help manage the withdrawal of all US forces from war-torn Iraq by the end of 2011.
   
Supporters said Hill's experience with multilateral diplomacy on North Korea and sectarian tensions in the Balkans would serve him well as he worked to soothe relations between Iraq and its neighbors and dampen internal strife.
   
"He has a great deal of experience with the skills that matter the most for the resolution of remaining issues in Iraq," said Democratic Senator John Kerry, who chairs the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
   
"We need an ambassador in Iraq. We need this ambassador in Iraq. This should not be a controversial nomination," Kerry said minutes before the vote.
   
Critics cited his lack of Middle East experience and noted that Hill does not speak Arabic, while a knot of hardliners assailed his handling of the six-party talks aimed at ending North Korea's nuclear ambitions.
   
His leading foe, Republican Senator Sam Brownback, accused Hill of ignoring Pyongyang's human rights abuses and of crafting a deeply flawed agreement on scrapping the Stalinist state's nuclear programs.
   
"The deeds of ambassador Hill on North Korea: No progress on human rights, terrible deal, failed diplomacy," Brownback said in his final speech before the confirmation vote.
   
"The only thing dismantled in the six-party talks was our strategic deterrence and moral authority," charged the Kansas senator, who has authored legislation to return North Korea to a US terrorism blacklist.
   
Opposition to Hill shrank markedly when the commander of US forces in Iraq, General Ray Odierno, and the commander of US forces in the entire region, General David Petraeus, indicated they supported his nomination.
   
Hill also won the heavyweight support of his widely admired predecessor in Baghdad, Ryan Crocker, who left the post earlier this year.
   
Hill now inherits the diplomatic dossier in Iraq six years after the March 2003 US-led invasion to topple Saddam Hussein, and one year after stunning but fragile security gains partly built on a US troop "surge."
   
At a confirmation hearing in late March, Hill said Iraq was now in "a crucial phase" and declared: "I just don't want to screw it up."
   
Hill said his top priorities in Iraq would be helping carry out successful parliamentary elections, pass a long-delayed law on oil revenue-sharing, and improve relations between Baghdad and the countries around it.
   
"The real problem in the region for Iraq remains its ancient neighbor, Iran," Hill said, adding: "We believe, and the Iraqis definitely believe, that Iran needs to respect Iraqi sovereignty."
   
Beaten on the Hill nomination, Brownback said support was growing for his bill to return North Korea to a state sponsors of terrorism blacklist from which it was removed, and attendant sanctions dropped, in October 2008.
  

Date created : 2009-04-22

COMMENT(S)