President Bush will meet Friday at the White House with Nigeria's president. The two men are expected to discuss the war on terrorism and increasing trade with Africa.
White House spokesman Ari Fleischer says the meeting with Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo reflects the importance President Bush places on having African allies in the war against terrorism.
"The president has had a series of phone calls and meetings with various leaders throughout the world including in Africa," he said. "Africa is an important region to the United States. There are many nations who are playing helpful roles in the war on terrorism, and the meeting should be seen in that context."
Meeting with African officials at the State Department Monday, President Bush thanked African nations for military basing and overflight rights offered as part of this war against terrorism and said a growing number of African governments are cracking down on terrorist financing.
Nigeria is Africa's most populous nation and has more than 50 million Muslims. That makes President Obasanjo an important ally as the United States says its war against terrorism is not a broader conflict against Islam.