Darfur Crisis to Dominate Bush, Yar’Adua Talks

The lingering Darfur Crisis will dominate talks between President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua and the United States President, Mr. George W. Bush, as they meet this week in Washington, D.C.
President Yar’Adua disclosed this at a meeting with the Sudanese President, Omar El-Bashir, at the ongoing EU-Africa Summit in Lisbon, Portugal.
He said his meeting with the US President would be primarily on finding a lasting solution to the crisis.
President Yar’Adua however tasked the Sudanese President on creating an enabling environment for the peaceful resolution of the crisis.
The President also promised to seek audience with the United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki Moon, on how to tackle the immediate problems, while charting the way forward for the Darfur region.
He, however, told El-Bashir that he would want the Commander of the United Nations/African Mission in Dafur (UNAMID), Nigeria’s General Martin-Luther Agwai, to accompany him to the meeting, so that all the technical issues on Darfur could be fully addressed.
Speaking earlier, the Sudanese leader commended President Yar’Adua for Nigeria’s leading role in the resolution of crisis in the continent.
He said with more funding for the UNAMID troops in the Dafur region, there would be hope of a speedy resolution of the crisis.
President El-Bashir said beside funding of the troops, other challenges were the preparedness of other African countries to assist in bringing the war to an end and the logistic problems associated with the deployment of the troops.
President Yar’Adua also held bilateral meetings with the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, the Spanish Prime Minister, Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, the Algerian President, Abdelaziz Bouteflika, and the South African President, Thabo Mbeki.
The Spanish President called for greater economic ties between Nigeria and Spain.
President Yar’Adua said there was no better moment to do business with Nigeria than the present.
According to him, “Nigeria is at the take-off point and as we conclude the process of putting all the necessary legislations in place, we encourage investors, especially from Europe, to take advantage of the existing opportunities for what would be a mutually beneficial relationship.”
In his meeting with President Bouteflika, President Yar’Adua proposed a joint committee between the two countries to examine the possibility of harnessing the gas potentials of the Gulf of Guinea through a trans-Atlantic gas pipeline.
His Algerian counterpart accepted the proposal.
He also held bilateral talks with the Prime Minister of Netherlands, Jan Peter Balkenende, who solicited that efforts should be renewed by the Nigerian authorities for Shell to be allowed to resume operations in Ogoniland.

– Thisday

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