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Obama Urges Gabon's President to Root Out Corruption


Gabon's President Ali Ben Bongo (left) with President Obama at White House Jun 9, 2011

Gabon's President Ali Ben Bongo (left) with President Obama at White House Jun 9, 2011

U.S. President Barack Obama has urged Gabon's President Ali Ben Bongo to root out corruption and protect human rights in the West African country.

Mr. Obama met with Mr. Bongo at the White House Thursday, despite questions about alleged corruption in Mr. Bongo's family and government.

The White House said Mr. Obama welcomed reforms that Gabon has taken under Mr. Bongo to bring more transparency and accountability to government.

Earlier, the White House again defended Mr. Obama's decision to meet with the Gabonese president. White House spokesman Jay Carney said Gabon has been a helpful partner in dealing with Ivory Coast, Libya, and Iran, and supported the United States on issues dealing with human rights.

Carney said it would be naive to expect Mr. Obama to avoid leaders with questionable human rights records.

The White House said the two leaders discussed a wide range of multilateral and regional issues, including security, environmental protection and the economy.

Gabon holds the rotating presidency of the United Nations Security Council this month.

President Obama met with Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan at the White House on Wednesday afternoon.

A statement said Mr. Obama congratulated Mr. Jonathan on the success of Nigeria's recent elections, which came off more peacefully than the country's previous polls.

He also called on Mr. Jonathan to make fighting corruption a national priority.

Nigeria has a history of graft among top officials. The country's former speaker of parliament was arrested on charges of misappropriating government funds earlier this week.

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