Rex Tillerson to visit Africa in 2018.
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Rex Tillerson to visit Africa in 2018.

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is planning a trip to Africa in the first three months of next year, a senior aide said amid speculation on how long Tillerson might stay in the job.

Directly addressing the issue at a news conference at NATO headquarters in Brussels, Tillerson dismissed the reports that overshadowed his week-long trip to Europe which highlighted the yearning of allies for stability in U.S. foreign policy.

“Secretary Rex Tillerson is planning a trip to Africa in the first quarter of 2018,” senior adviser R.C. Hammond told reporters at Germany’s Ramstein Air Base.

According to Reuters, Hammond spoke during a stopover en route Vienna where Tillerson is due to meet his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov to discuss issues including North Korea.

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There are speculations that Tillerson may visit Nigeria as part of his planned Africa tour, but it must be noted that Deputy Secretary of State, John Sullivan, only just concluded a visit to Nigeria, late last month.

Rex Tillerson ’s Africa visit is a follow up to Trump’s renewed commitment to the continent which was sparked off thanks to a special meeting with African leaders during the 72nd session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, three months ago.

Tillerson has said there can be no normal U.S. relations with Russia until Moscow ends its support for separatists in Ukraine and return the Crimea region it annexed in 2014.