John Kerry made a surprise trip to Somalia on Tuesday, officials said, becoming the first US secretary of state to visit the war-ravaged Horn of Africa nation.
The top US diplomat was spending just a few hours in the capital, Mogadishu, and was not scheduled to leave the confines of the fortified airport where he was to meet Somalia’s President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud and Prime Minister Omar Abdirashid Ali Sharmake.
“Secretary Kerry landed in Mogadishu, Somalia to reinforce the United States commitment to supporting Somalia’s ongoing transition to a peaceful democracy,” State Department spokesperson Marie Harf said.
“In his meetings with federal and regional government officials, he will discuss security cooperation and Somalia’s progress towards meeting its reform and development benchmarks…He will also meet with civil society leaders to discuss the importance of a vibrant NGO sector and thank African Union troops for their role in stabilising Somalia,” she said.
A senior State Department official described the visit as “historic”.
Kerry also cautioned against KDF pullout from the restive country.