19:28 GMT +317 October 2019
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    John Abizaid

    US Senate Confirms Ex-CENTCOM Chief Abizaid as Envoy to Saudi Arabia

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    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) – US senators voted overwhelmingly on Wednesday to confirm former Central Command chief John Abizaid as the next American ambassador to Saudi Arabia. The Senate voted 92-7 to confirm President Donald Trump’s nomination.

    Trump, who has faced increased pressure to fill the long-vacant Saudi ambassadorship following the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in October, announced the nomination in November.

    READ MORE: US Gathering Facts About Khashoggi Murder — Pompeo

    Abizaid retired from the US Army as a four-star general after 34 years, during which he rose from infantry platoon to become the longest-serving commander of CENTCOM, according to an Army website.

    Abizaid told senators at his confirmation hearing earlier this month that he would continue pressing the Saudi leadership on the Khashoggi killing inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, an act that US intelligence agencies concluded with high confidence had likely been ordered by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

    Saudi Arabia has called the killing a rogue operation, placed 11 operatives on trial and claimed that the crown prince was unaware of the assassination.

    Senators Kirsten Gillibrand, Kamala Harris, Ed Markey, Jeff Merkley, Tom Udall, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren voted against the nomination, and Senator Cory Booker was absent, according to the Senate Press Gallery.

    READ MORE: Trump's Nominee for Envoy to Riyadh Promises to Press Saudis on Khashoggi Case


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