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US Senate panel approves Kenya envoy

WASHINGTON, Apr 13 – A key US Senate panel has approved President Barack Obama\’s picks to be the ambassadors to Kenya and Vietnam, sending their nominations to the full chamber for confirmation.

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee greenlighted Scott Gration, who previously served as Obama\’s special envoy to Sudan, to go to Nairobi and career diplomat David Shear to be the top US diplomat in Hanoi.

Obama traces part of his ancestry to Kenya.

The committee also approved Suzan Johnson Cook to be ambassador-at-large for international religious freedom, Robert Patterson as ambassador to Turkmenistan and Michelle Gavin as ambassador to Botswana.

It remained unclear when the full Senate would act on the nominations, which the panel approved by voice vote.

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