Former director of Central Intelligence Agency Mike Pompeo was sworn in as the 70th Secretary of State of the United States on Thursday, reported Reuters. Following the swearing-in, he immediately set off for a meeting of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation to be held on Friday in Brussels.

Pompeo had to overcome stiff opposition from the Democrats in the US Senate, who warned that he would add fuel to Trump’s aggressive foreign policy, reported AFP. The Senate confirmed Pompeo with a 57-42 vote. Just an hour after the Senate vote, Pompeo was sworn-in as Secretary of State by Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito at the White House.

President Donald Trump welcomed the Senate vote. “Having a patriot of Mike’s immense talent, energy, and intellect leading the Department of State will be an incredible asset for our country at this critical time in history,” he said, reported CNN.

Pompeo said he was “completely humbled by the responsibility” of the new post, reported AFP.

After the meeting at Brussels, Pompeo will meet allies in Saudi Arabia, Israel and Jordan. State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert said the stops were chosen to reflect their “importance as key allies and partners in the region”.

Pompeo replaces Rex Tillerson, who Trump fired in March over purported differences in opinion.

CIA deputy director Gina Haspel will take over from Pompeo as the agency’s director. She will be the first woman to run the spy agency.