U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson called his counterparts from Canada and Mexico in some of his first exchanges with foreign leaders since taking the helm of the State Department on Thursday, a State Department official said.
The official did not release details of the calls, although they came as U.S. President Donald Trump‘s pushes to speed up talks to either renegotiate or replace the North American Free Trade Agreement with both countries.
Tillerson has long been a supporter of the Keystone XL pipeline extension project, which Trump provisionally approved in an executive order.
“We need to approve critical infrastructure projects, such as the Keystone XL pipeline,” the Texan said at an energy conference last year. “The United States and Canada both need this – and other – vital infrastructure projects.”
Tillerson was confirmed to be secretary of state, a crucial member of the president’s national security team, by the Republican-controlled Senate on Wednesday.
He was quickly sworn in during a ceremony in the Oval Office, where Trump showered him with praise.
Senators voted 56-43 to approve the former Exxon Mobil CEO after Democrats mounted a vocal yet unsuccessful campaign to derail the bid. They said they feared his four-decade career at the energy giant meant he’d view the world only through the lens of a corporate executive and questioned whether he would confront Trump when he believes the president is wrong.