WASHINGTON - The United States Senate has confirmed the appointment of David Hale, a career diplomat, as ambassador to Pakistan.

Hale, a longtime Middle East expert who was nominated for the post by President Barack Obama in March, will replace Ambassador Richard Olson. At his confirmation hearing in June, Hale said that he would work closely with Pakistani leaders towards further strengthening Washington-Islamabad relations.

Pakistan, he said, is a strategically important country for achieving US national security interests. “We have a strong stake in Pakistan’s ability to combat militancy and strengthen its democratic institutions,” he told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

He listed four core US interests in Pakistan: first, defeating Al-Qaeda and countering militancy; second, non-proliferation and nuclear security; third, political and economic stability which includes respect for human rights; and fourth, regional stability, including improved relations with Afghanistan and India.

Until recently, Hale was the US Ambassador to Lebanon, a position he has held since 2013. He previously served as the Special Envoy for Middle East Peace from 2011 to 2013 and as Deputy Special Envoy for Middle East Peace from 2009 to 2011.

From 2008 to 2009, he was a deputy assistant secretary of state in the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs at the Department of State. Prior to that, Hale served as US Ambassador to Jordan from 2005 to 2008.

He served at the US Embassy in Jordan as Charge d'Affaires from 2004 to 2005 and as Deputy Chief of Mission from 2003 to 2004.

Hale has also served as Director of the Office of Israel and Palestinian Affairs, Executive Assistant to the Secretary of State, and in other positions overseas in Bahrain, Lebanon, and Saudi Arabia.