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Leadership crisis : US envoy to hold talks with Nigeria

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A senior US envoy arrived in Lagos yesterday, the US embassy said, for talks expected to cover Nigeria’s leadership crisis and global terrorism in a visit that comes amid friction between the countries.

US Assistant Secretary of State for Africa Johnnie Carson arrived in the city from neighbouring Benin, embassy spokesman David Renz said. “He has begun his programme of meetings,” he said, without giving details.

Diplomatic officials said, on condition of anonymity, the envoy was due in the capital Abuja on Monday and would meet acting leader Vice President Goodluck Jonathan, Foreign Minister Ojo Maduekwe and civic leaders.

Nigeria  has been in the spotlight after a Nigerian man was charged in the United States with trying to blow up an airliner over the US city of Detroit on December 25.

A US statement on Friday said Carson would discuss with Nigerian authorities issues of governance, elections, corruption, trade improvement and investment opportunities.

“The US government looks forward to working with the government of Nigeria as a partner on aviation security and other measures to combat international terrorism,” it added.

The statement quoted Carson as saying: “Our friendship and relationship with Nigeria has not changed.”

“We thank Nigerians for their well wishes since the December 25 attempted attack, and as good bilateral partners we will work together against global threats such as this,” he said.

The botched attack led the United States to place Nigeria on a list of 14 countries from which travellers would face extra security checks, angering Abuja authorities.

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