Donald Trump has sacked US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson from the White House, replacing him with CIA director Mike Pompeo.
This comes after Tillerson cut short his seven-day visit to Africa after meeting Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari in Abuja on Monday.
Trump confirmed the news with an early morning tweet, saying former CIA chief Pompeo would do a good job.
“Mike Pompeo, Director of the CIA, will become our new Secretary of State. He will do a fantastic job! Thank you to Rex Tillerson for his service!”
Mr Trump said Gina Haspel would replace Mr Pompeo as director of the CIA, and would be the first woman to hold the position.
The major White House shakeup comes amid delicate negotiations ahead of a landmark meeting between the US President and North Korea’s Kim Jong-un scheduled for some time in May.
Mike Pompeo, Director of the CIA, will become our new Secretary of State. He will do a fantastic job! Thank you to Rex Tillerson for his service! Gina Haspel will become the new Director of the CIA, and the first woman so chosen. Congratulations to all!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 13, 2018
In a statement confirming the sack, Mr Trump praised Mr Pompeo and Ms Haspel.
“Mike graduated first in his class at West Point, served with distinction in the U.S. Army, and graduated with Honors from Harvard Law School,” he said in the statement. “He went on to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives with a proven record of working across the aisle.”
“Gina Haspel, the Deputy Director of the CIA, will be nominated to replace Director Pompeo and she will be the CIA’s first-ever female director, a historic milestone.
“Mike and Gina have worked together for more than a year, and have developed a great mutual respect.”
Ms Haspel is a career CIA employee who was appointed deputy director by Mr Trump in 2017.