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Senate panel OKs U.N. nomination

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Senate Foreign Relations Committee took less than a minute Wednesday to approve the long-delayed nomination of veteran diplomat Richard Holbrooke to be U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.

Holbrooke was among 25 diplomatic nominations that were passed by the panel at the same time, by voice vote.The vote sends the nomination to the Senate floor. Holbrooke supporters hoped the Senate could vote on the nomination by week's end so the long-vacant top U.S. job at the United Nations could be filled.

But the nomination had a final obstacle to overcome: a "hold" put on it by Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, over an unrelated civil service dispute.

By Senate tradition, any senator can hold up -- at least for a while -- any nomination for any reason.