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Centrist Blinken to be Biden’s pick for US secretary of state

Published: Updated:

The top US diplomat in President-elect Joe Biden’s upcoming administration will be his longtime confidante Antony Blinken, sources familiar with the decision said late Sunday.

Blinken was previously the deputy secretary of state under former President Barack Obama as well as the deputy national security adviser.

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Despite Blinken being one of the frontrunners for secretary of state, it was reported that he would be the national security adviser for Biden. One of the reasons was that Biden “doesn’t want him out of his sight,” one adviser to Biden told Al Arabiya English.

During Biden’s time on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Blinken was his aide and played a central role in crafting US policy in the Middle East.

Blinken, referred to as a centrist, admitted to getting Washington’s policy on Syria wrong during his time under Obama and Biden.

Bloomberg also reported Sunday that Jake Sullivan, formerly one of Hillary Clinton’s closest aides, is likely to be named Biden’s national security adviser, according to two people familiar with the matter.

An announcement is expected Tuesday, the people said.

Biden’s pick of the 58-year-old Blinken could allay fears of Republicans in the Senate, where cabinet picks must be confirmed.

Susan Rice and Chris Coons are two other choices in the mix to become secretary of state.

However, Rice would likely have a difficult time being confirmed by the Senate for her previous actions, including statements she made after the deadly 2012 attacks on Americans in Benghazi, Libya.

A graduate of Harvard University and Columbia Law School and a longtime Democratic foreign policy presence, Blinken has aligned himself with numerous former senior national security officials who have called for a major reinvestment in American diplomacy and renewed emphasis on global engagement.

Read more:

US policies in the Middle East: An in-depth analysis of Biden’s plans

What will Joe Biden’s priorities be for US foreign policy?

- with agencies