Posted by News Express | 25 June 2013 | 4,817 times
The Government of the United States of America has given a reason why Africa’s most populous country Nigeria is not among those to be visited by President Barack Obama during his three-nation tour of the continent starting tomorrow.
“Time only permits us to go to these three,” said Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes while defending Obama’s decision to only visit Senegal, South Africa and Tanzania.
Speaking Friday from Washington, D.C. during a press briefing on the tour which begins from Senegal and with concludes … with Tanzania, Mr. Rhodes insisted that leaving out Nigeria does not mean that the U.S. downplays the country’s importance. His words:
“With respect to Nigeria, we certainly believe that Nigeria is a fundamentally important country to the future of Africa. We’ve put a lot of investment in the relationship with Nigeria through their leadership of ECOWAS, through the significant U.S. business investment in Nigeria and through our security cooperation.
“Obviously, Nigeria is working through some very challenging security issues right now. And in that process, they’re going to be a partner of the United States. We certainly believe we’ll have an opportunity to further engage the Nigerian government through bilateral meetings going forward. But at this point, we just were not able to make it to Nigeria on this particular itinerary.
I will say that we purposefully designed the itineraries to be able to reach West Africa, South Africa and East Africa, and in West Africa, to visit Senegal, a French-speaking, Muslim-majority democracy that is an important partner of the United States and also provides a platform for the President to speak to the broader region.
“We are also looking at ways, at the President's town hall in South Africa with young African leaders, to draw in through technology young people in Nigeria and in Kenya, among other places, so that the President is using this trip to speak to the broader African audience. We recognize we’d like to go to as many countries as possible. Time only permits us to go to these three. But we want to make sure that in each country we’re speaking to the broader region. And we’re going to make use of technology and other means to do so.”
The press briefing conducted via conference call was also addressed by Senior Director for African Affairs Grant Harris, and Senior Director for Development and Democracy Gayle Smith. This is Obama’s second African tour, the first having taken him to Ghana in July 2009 during the early part of his first term as U.S. President.
•Photo: President Obama and wife Michelle will be live in africa from tomorrow.
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