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Nigeria pledges to send peacekeepers to Somalia

Nairobi — Nigeria has reiterated its pledge to contribute troops to peacekeeping efforts in Somalia once the logistical and political issues surrounding the deployment is settled.

Minister for Foreign Affairs Ojo Maduekwe made the pledge in Nairobi during a meeting with his Kenyan counterpart, Moses Wetang’ula.

Maduekwe said that the government was seeking parliamentary approval and support at home for the deployment of troops to the AU Military Mission on Somalia (AMISON) to be successful.

The two ministers agreed on the need to strengthen the mandate of AMISON to enable the Somalia transitional government stamp its authority in the Horn of Africa nation.

A statement from Kenya’s  foreign ministry said that Maduekwe reiterated that Nigeria has a strong history of peacekeeping in the region and would not abdicate from this responsibility.

He pointed out that the Somali problem is an international problem that needed the cooperation of the international community.

He said that  ignoring it would only aggravate the security situation in the whole region.

He  told his Kenyan counterpart that plans were underway to increase crude oil export to Kenya to 60,000 tones up from 30,000 tones under concessionary terms as soon as full production of oil in the Niger delta resumes.

Nigeria has sent peacekeepers into several war zones around Africa, including Sudan’s Darfur region, Sierra Leone and Liberia, bolstering its status as a major continental power.

But its contribution for the lawless nation of Somalia will still leave the African Union peacekeepers well below its originally intended size.

The AU had planned to send 8,000 troops to support Somalia’s interim government against an insurgency by Islamist rebels.

Meanwhile, Wetang’ula said that plans were under way for Kenya and Nigeria to sign a Joint Permanent Commission of cooperation agreement towards the strengthening of relations between the two countries.

He said that Kenya and Nigeria continued to enjoy cordial relations and the establishment of the Joint Permanent Commission of Cooperation would go along way in elevating this relations to a higher level.

Wetang’ula called on the Nigerian government to accord landing rights to Kenya airways in Abuja to facilitate flights between Nairobi and Abuja.

The Minister said that Kenya would improve its visa regime to ensure that Nigerian citizens visiting the country are not inconvenienced.


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