US Senate confirms ambassadors to Kuwait and Oman

Confirmations come as Washington seeks to prevent Israel-Gaza war from spreading into Middle East

The US Capitol Building and Washington Monument. EPA
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The US Senate on Wednesday confirmed the nation's ambassadors to Kuwait and Oman, filling two key posts as Washington seeks to avoid the Israel-Gaza war from spilling into other countries in the Middle East.

Karen Sasahara and Ana Escrogima were confirmed as ambassadors to Kuwait and Oman by voice vote.

“It is important we have ambassadors in critical places,” said Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer.

“We will continue working to get more critical diplomats confirmed.”

Ms Sasahara has been a career member of the Foreign Service and was previously the deputy assistant secretary of state for North Africa.

She had also served as the interim charge d'affaires in Jordan from March 2019 to August 2020.

Ms Escrogima, also a career member of the Foreign Service, was most recently the consul general in Montreal. She also held positions in Saudi Arabia, Algeria and Syria.

At the time of her nomination, the State Department said her “considerable experience as a policymaker for the Middle East and North Africa, and her ability as an Arabic speaker make her a well-qualified candidate” to serve as ambassador to Oman.

The Senate is also trying to move quickly to confirm Jack Lew's nomination as US ambassador to Israel. Mr Lew was grilled by lawmakers on Tuesday.

The US ambassadorial post for Egypt remains vacant. President Joe Biden nominated diplomat Herro Garg in March. Her confirmation hearing is set for Thursday.

Updated: October 18, 2023, 9:46 PM