The role has been empty since January 2017 when President Donald Trump took office. Not at any point in the past century has Sweden gone this long without a US ambassador.
Last year, Trump eventually nominated Ken Howery – a 44-year-old entrepreneur and venture capitalist from Texas, who co-founded PayPal with Elon Musk – for the role.
And on Tuesday he was approved by the US Senate, with 62 yea votes to 32 nays, the final step in the process which clears the way for Howery to take up the position in Stockholm.
“An ambassadorship is a position of honor and trust, and I will strive to do credit to the office. I look forward to being sworn in soon and beginning my work,” tweeted Howery.
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No date has yet been set for Howery's arrival in Sweden, but the US embassy in Stockholm said it looked forward to welcoming him to Sweden “very soon”.
Honored to have been confirmed by the Senate today as the U.S. Ambassador to the Kingdom of Sweden. An ambassadorship is a position of honor and trust, and I will strive to do credit to the office. I look forward to being sworn in soon and beginning my work at @USEmbassySweden.
— Ken Howery (@KenHowery) September 17, 2019
In the absence of an ambassador, the US embassy has been run by a series of chargés d'affaires.
“Cooperation with the chargé has worked well and the lack of an ambassador has had no practical consequences for the contact between the embassy and the government office,” a spokesperson for the Swedish foreign ministry told public broadcaster SVT earlier this year.
Sweden went almost nine months without an ambassador in 2015, after Barack Obama's nominee Azita Raji was held up by political wrangling in the US Senate.
ambassador – (en) ambassadör
embassy – (en) ambassad
foreign ministry – (ett) utrikesdepartement
month – (en) månad
entrepreneur – (en) entreprenör
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