News / Africa

US, Nigeria, to Set Up Bi-National Commission

US Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Johnnie Carson (file photo)
US Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Johnnie Carson (file photo)

The United States and Nigeria sign an accord Tuesday setting up a high-level bi-national commission, one of three the Obama administration plans to have with key African states. The State Department says the panel will, among other things, try to encourage electoral reform in Nigeria after trouble-ridden elections in 2007.

The agreement, to be signed by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Nigerian Secretary to the Federal Government Mahmud Yayale Ahmed, is aimed at solidifying relations between the United States and its leading Africa trading partner.

Nigeria is the third-largest supplier of oil to the United States and among other things, the largest African contributor to international peacekeeping operations.

Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Johnnie Carson, briefing reporters on the pending agreement, said the United States views Nigeria - Africa's most populous nation - as a key to regional security.

"Nigeria has played a central, important and positive role in stability and peace in West Africa," said Johnnie Carson. "Liberia and Sierra Leone are peaceful today, under democratic governance today, in large measure due to the enormous political and security commitments made by previous Nigerian leaders. They are a key player, economically,  politically and in security in West Africa."

The U.S.-Nigerian bi-national commission will be a prototype for similar panels the Obama administration plans to set up with South Africa and Angola.

It will have working groups aimed at helping Nigeria improve governance and fight corruption, boost economic opportunity in the troubled but oil-rich Niger Delta region, deal with chronic power and refined fuel shortages, and make more of its vast agricultural potential.

Carson said the United States wants in particular to help Nigeria improve the conduct of elections after voting in 2007 was marred by fraud and violence and considered a setback from previous voting.

The chief U.S. Africa diplomat bluntly suggested that replacing controversial Nigerian elections chief Maurice Iwu would be one step that would improve prospects for a fairer national election in 2011.

"We hope that when it comes time to look at reappoint, or the decision to appoint someone else, that his past record be taken into account," he said. "The 2007 elections, in which he was responsible, were deeply flawed, highly condemned inside the country and deeply questioned outside the country. His track record in running elections has not been high or stellar, in fact it's been disappointing."

Carson said the working group on the Niger Delta would be aimed at dealing with the region's multiple problems including high unemployment and environmental degradation.

He categorically rejected a recent report by the newspaper Nigerian Compass that the United States is considering military intervention, if violence in the area threatened oil production.

"Nigeria's security is the responsibility of the central government of Nigeria," said Assistant Secretary of State Carson. "The United States has no, and I repeat, no intention of engaging militarily in Nigeria. The story that you have mentioned is erroneous, false and completely without foundation."

Carson said Nigeria's leadership acted responsibly and within the broad outlines of the constitution when it named Vice President Goodluck Jonathan as acting president in February, due to the prolonged illness-related absence of President Umaru Yar'Adua.

He said the political uncertainty over the change has begun to recede, but that the situation underlines the need to reform the national electoral commission and move toward new elections to be held before May of next year.

You May Like

US Investors Eye IPO for China's Alibaba

E-commerce giant handled 80 percent of China's online business last year, logging more Internet transactions than US-based Amazon.com and eBay combined More

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

As cease-fire begins, Palestinians celebrate in streets; Israelis remain wary More

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

In treatment of a 12-year-old boy Chinese doctors used a 3-D printer and special software to create an exact replica of vertebra More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implanti
X
August 27, 2014 4:53 PM
A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

Israel and the Gaza Strip have been calm since a cease-fire set in Tuesday evening, ending seven weeks of hostilities. Hamas, which controls Gaza, declared victory. Israelis were more wart. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. VOA News reports from Kolkata.
Video

Video Northern California Quake: No Way to Know When Next One Will Hit

A magnitude 6.0 earthquake rocked northern California’s Napa Valley on Sunday. Roads twisted and water mains burst. It was the wine country’s most severe quake in 15 years, and while hospitals treated many people, no one was killed. Arash Arabasadi has more from Washington on what the future may hold for those residents living on a fault line.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Ukrainian officials say they have captured Russian soldiers on Ukrainian territory -- the latest accusation of Moscow's involvement in the conflict in eastern Ukraine. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the Ukrainian side of the battle, where soldiers are convinced of Russia's role.
Video

Video Rubber May Soon Come From Dandelions

Synthetic rubber has been around for more than a century, but quality tires for cars, trucks and aircraft still need up to 40 percent or more natural rubber content. As the source of natural rubber, the rubber tree, is prone to disease and can be affected by bad weather. So scientists are looking for replacements. And as VOA’s George Putic reports, they may have found one in a ubiquitous weed.
Video

Video Jewish Life in Argentina Reflected in Yiddish Tango

Jewish people from across Europe and Russia have been immigrating to Argentina for hundreds of years. They brought with them dance music that were eventually mixed with Argentine tango. The result is Yiddish tango -- a fusion of melodies and cultural experiences that is still evolving today. Elizabeth Lee reports from the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles, where one band is bringing Yiddish tango to an American audience.

AppleAndroid