US Secretary of State John Kerry wrapped up a visit to war-torn Somalia that included talks with the country’s president and prime minister.
Kerry traveled Tuesday from Nairobi to Mogadishu, becoming the first sitting U.S. secretary of state to visit Somalia. He spent about 3½ hours in Mogadishu, a visit that was not publicly announced by U.S. officials in advance.
A senior State Department official said Kerry’s trip was a bid to show support for the progress made by the Somali government and to thank regional nations for their contributions to AMISOM, the African Union peacekeeping mission in Somalia.
Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud and Prime Minister Omar Abdirashid Ali Sharmarke greeted Kerry at the airport.
Mohamud said, “This is a great moment for us … thank you for the time to be with us.”
“I am glad to be here,” said Kerry, who also expressed hope that Somalia could make further progress toward peace and stability.
The U.S. envoy later met with the president of Somalia’s Puntland region and the interim presidents for two other regions.