Monday, March 23, 2009

Remarks with Nigerian Foreign Minister Ojo Maduekwe

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton met with Nigerian Foreign Minister Ojo Maduekwe today. They delivered brief remarks prior to their meeting at the State Department. Their meeting is to review Africa's security issues few weeks after the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued a warrant of arrest on Sudanese President Omer al-Bashir. A senior official at the U.S. State Department, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said "Nigeria is the big boy in Africa," and the U.S. continues to see Nigeria as its partner in Africa's security matters.

It is the first high level meeting between the Federal Government of Nigeria and the Obama administration, and U.S. sources say both Clinton and Maduekwe are expected to see today's meeting as largely exploratory, rather than a detailed one. Both dignitaries would want to start off the relationship on the right foot, according to observers.

Sources said there would be minimal discussions on bilateral issues, but that the focus would be more on how U.S. and Nigeria could cooperate on a multi-lateral international engagement on African issues.

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