Sen. Richard Burr has delayed the confirmation of several of President Barack Obama's nominees for diplomatic posts, until the State Department designates the Pakistan-based Haqqani network as a terrorist organization.
In a move reminiscent of the late Sen. Jesse Helms, Burr has put a hold on a number of State Department nominees, according to The Cable, of Foreign Policy. com.
Burr put a hold on Mari Carmen Aponte to be U.S. ambassador to El Salvador and Matthew Bryza to be ambassador to Azerbaijan. Also in limbo are Michael A. Hammer to be assistant secretary for public affairs, Adam E. Namm to be ambassador to Ecuador, Roberta S. Jacobson to be assistant secretary of state for Western Hemisphere affairs and Elizabeth M. Cousens to be U.S. representative on the UN Economic and Social Council.
Burr is threatening to hold up all State Department confirmations until State acts against the Haqqanis, The Cable reported.
“The Haqqanis are a violent extremist group who have perpetrated deadly attacks on U.S. forces and innocent Afghan civilians, used murder as an intimidation tactics against the Afghan people and employed suicide attacks with deadly effectiveness,” Burr said in a statement.
“They are an extremely dangerous group,” Burr said, “and they deserve to be classified as a terrorist organization. Designating them as terrorists would allow us to more aggressively pursue them as well as limit the ability of foreign governments to provide them with aid and assistance.”
Burr is borrowing a page from Helms, who often held up State Department nomination to pressure State to follow certain policies.