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John Abizaid named US' new envoy to Saudi Arabia

ANI  |  US 

The US on Wednesday (local time) voted to confirm as the new to Saudi Arabia, a position that was lying vacant since 2017.

Abizaid, who was nominated by US last year, was voted 92-7 by the Senate, thereby confirming his post, amid a strain in relations between the US and in the wake of dissident Jamal Khashoggi's death, reported.

Having a military background, served as of (CENTCOM), the force unit present in the Middle East, and led missions in Iraq, and Bosnia-Herzegovina. He was also the of CENTCOM from 2003 to 2007.

The vacancy in the post had become a bone of contention in the wake of the gruesome incident.

The has been facing immense criticism from lawmakers for its response to Khashoggi's murder.

Khashoggi, who was a with and a of the Saudi regime, was killed in the on October 2 last year, where he had gone to obtain paperwork certifying his divorce with his former wife in order to be able to marry his Turkish fiancee Hatice Cengiz.

After presenting several contradictory theories, acknowledged that Khashoggi was killed in the consulate premises in what it had described as a "rogue operation".

According to agencies, Khashoggi's murder was enacted upon orders given by Saudi Crown

However, has repeatedly rejected all the allegations against its Crown Prince, adding that it is committed to bringing the perpetrators to justice.

The US has also barred the entry of at least 16 Saudi nationals into the country over their alleged involvement in the murder of Khashoggi.Amidst this, Trump, himself had repeatedly expressed his unhappiness over the slow pace of confirmation for his nominations. In a recent closed-door lunch session with the Republicans, Trump had urged them to speed up the process and fill vacancies in his administration.

The last US to Saudi Arabia, Joseph Westphal, who served under the previous administration had resigned from his post in January 2017, few days before Trump took office.

Since then, served as charge d'affaires at the in Riyadh.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Thu, April 11 2019. 03:45 IST