Former Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry was named on Monday the new chairman of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, a post held by Vice President-elect Joe Biden.
Committee members on Friday elected the Democratic senator from Massachusetts to the post, which was vacated by Biden, who is set to leave the Senate on Jan. 20 and be sworn in to the White House.
"We have a big agenda ahead of us, just as our country faces big challenges across the globe," Kerry said in a statement.
"I look forward to working with all members of the committee to help strengthen America's hand in Afghanistan and Pakistan, work towards global climate change solutions and end the war in Iraq responsibly," he said.
Kerry is currently visiting Pakistan and will next head to Poland, Georgia, India, Afghanistan and Kuwait in his first trip abroad as chairman of the committee.
Elected to the Senate in 1985, Kerry has served on the Foreign Relations Committee for 23 years and once chaired its Asia and Middle East subcommittees.
He lost the 2004 presidential elections to his Republican rival George W. Bush.