CIA Director Makes Surprise Visit to Somalia Amid Regional Tensions

Published: January 18, 2024

Mogadishu, Somalia – William J. Burns, Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, made an unannounced visit to Mogadishu on Wednesday and met with Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud. The meeting took place at near Mogadishu airport before President Mohamud’s trip to Uganda.

According to sources close to the Somali president who spoke to VOA’s Somali service, Burns and Mohamud discussed several pressing issues, including the implications of the recent agreement between Ethiopia and the self-declared republic of Somaliland.

The sources said the two sides also talked about how this deal has impacted the general security situation in the Horn of Africa region. Somalia sees the agreement as an infringement on its sovereignty over Somaliland, while the US is concerned about rising tensions.

Burns’ visit comes amid reports that Somalia is considering granting Turkey rights to a planned military base in the Red sea. This prospect, if confirmed, would likely raise eyebrows in Washington, further tightening the web of alliances and fueling regional rivalries.

The CIA and White House have not yet commented publicly on the purpose of the CIA Director’s unpublicized trip to Mogadishu. His visit underscores the US government’s deep interest in political developments in Somalia and neighboring countries.

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