- Category: International
- Published on Monday, 12 April 2010 05:42
- Written by Admin
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Nigeria’s Acting President, Goodluck Jonathan yesterday arrived the United States of America for a four-day working visit during which he will participate in the international Nuclear Security Summit to be hosted by US President Barack Obama.
Mr. Jonathan, who was on his first official visit to a foreign country since he assumed leadership was scheduled to meet with Mr Obama at 5-30pm (11.30pm Nigerian time) and is expected to have lunch with US Vice President Joe Biden today.
Details of the meeting with Mr Obama were not known at press time, but a presidential source said the US had previously indicated interest in electoral reform, returning peace to the Niger Delta, the country’s unity, and Nigeria’s cooperation in the war against terrorism and nuclear proliferation, so these will probably form the focus of the discussions.
A Nigerian, Farouk Abdulmutallab, is facing trial in the US for attempting to blow up a US plane over Detroit on Christmas day and this led the American government to put Nigeria on its list of ‘countries of interest’ in terrorism.
The acting president arrived the Andrews Airforce Base, Virginia, at 9.30am local time (3.30pm Nigerian time) and was received by US Ambassador to Nigeria, Robin Sanders; her Nigerian counterpart, Ade Adefuye and other ranking Nigerian and US officials.
The Andrews Airforce Base is reserved for use by select foreign leaders and special dignitaries of the American government.
Mr Jonathan was accompanied on the trip by Foreign Affairs Minister, Odein Ajumogobia and former Nigerian ambassador to the US, Hassan Adamu.
On arrival, he proceeded to Westin Grand Hotel, Washington DC, where he was received by governors of Imo, Edo and Zamfara States, Ikedi Ohakim, Adams Oshiomhole and Aliyu Shinkafi; as well as Joy Ogwu, Nigeria’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations (UN) and other top diplomats at both the Washington DC mission and the UN office.
The acting president’s itinerary, released by presidential officials, shows that after lunch with Mr Biden, he will proceed for a meeting with the President of the World Bank, at the World Bank Building, also in Washington DC and later, in the evening, join other visiting Heads of Government and delegations for a working dinner with Mr Obama.
Hilary Clinton, the US Secretary of State and her energy counterpart, Steven Chu, will host Mr Ajumogobia and Diezani Allison-Madueke, Minister of Petroleum Resources.
Tomorrow, Mr Jonathan will join other world leaders for the first plenary session of the Nuclear Security Summit before proceeding for a working lunch with the US president. He will thereafter participate in the second plenary, which marks the end of the nuclear summit.
The Acting President will begin his schedule for Wednesday with a breakfast meeting with officials of the Centre for Global Development in Washington DC. The governors of Imo, Edo, Rivers and Zamfara along with the foreign affairs, petroleum and finance ministers are expected to be in attendance.
He will later meet with members of the Nigerian community in the US and the President of ExxonMobil Oil Company. These meetings are also to be attended by the governors and the ministers, along with other presidential aides.
The Acting President returns to Nigeria on Wednesday, 14th April,2010.
Mr. Jonathan’s trip to the US also marks the first time in almost three years that a Nigerian leader will be visiting the US. Nigeria’s president, Umaru Yar’Adua studiously refused to visit the US after the caustic comments of US officials on the election that brought him to power. His ill health also stopped him from attending the United Nations General Assembly meeting which held in New York - leaving the former foreign affairs minister, Ojo Maduekwe, to meet US and UN officials.
Mr Obama pointedly avoided Nigeria during his last trip to Africa but he used his trip to Ghana to lecture African leaders on the virtue of free elections and financial accountability.
Commiserates with Poland
Mr Jonathan, yesterday sent his condolences to the acting president of Poland, Bronislaw Koromowshi and the Polish people over the death of President Lech Kaczynski, his wife Maria, and other ranking officials of the Polish government in a plane crash on Saturday.
He described the incident as tragic, noting that Poland had, in one fell swoop, lost the commanding heights of its political leadership.
“On behalf of the Government and people of Nigeria, I condole with your good self and the people of Poland over the death of President Lech Kaczynski, his wife Maria, high ranking officials of your Government and other nationals in the tragic plane crash of Saturday.
“Poland has lost some of its best and brightest to this accident, and Nigeria mourns with you at this moment of grief.”