Monday, April 12, 2010

Jonathan meets Obama

AFTER several unsuccessful attempts by a Nigeria leader to personally meet with an American President, which many believed would have averted Nigeria's recent listing among terrorist countries by the US, Acting President Goodluck Jonathan last Night met with the President of the United States, Mr Barrack Obama.

Clad in Ijaw, his native tribe, black coloured attire, with a black hat and a pair of shoes to match, the Acting President held one-on-one meeting with US President, a feat Nigeria achieved last during the Obasanjo era; thereby bringing the two nations, once again, together to directly discuss issues of common interest.

Several international engagements involving the Nigeria Government, which ordinarily would have provided an ample opportunity for a Nigeria leader to meet with immediate past American President Gorge Bush and current Obama were never attended by Nigeria's President.

Representatives of Nigeria's President sent to such conferences, such as the immediate past Minister of Foreign Affair, Chief Ojo Maduekwe, never had the opportunity of meeting with the  American President one-on-one.

Although details of the historic meeting was very scanty as at press time, Vanguard gathered the direct talks between the two world leaders which commenced exactly 11:30 local time held behind closed doors.

The talks took place at the prestigious Blair House, across from the White House, the venue of Obama's meeting with other world leaders including the South African President Jacob Zuma. Others included Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev.

According to reports, the Nigeria's Acting President is among some of the 40 world leaders currently attending World Nuclear Summit aimed at finding ways to secure the world's nuclear stockpile.

Jonathan's talks with Obama, it was learnt, focused on Nuclear Security  and terrorism as well as democracy among others.

Obama was quoted as saying that "if al-Qaida and other terrorist organizations acquired nuclear weapons it "would have no compunction at using them,".

"The single biggest threat to U.S. security, both short-term, medium-term and long-term, would be the possibility of a terrorist organization obtaining a nuclear weapon," Obama said. "This is something that could change the security landscape in this country and around the world for years to come."

"If there was ever a detonation in New York City, or London, or Johannesburg, the ramifications economically, politically and from a security perspective would be devastating," the president said.

"We know that organizations like al-Qaida are in the process of trying to secure nuclear weapons or other weapons of mass destruction, and would have no compunction at using them," Obama said.

The Nuclear Security Summit of more than 40 world leaders in Washington this week is aimed at securing "loose nuclear material," Obama said. He was holding one-on-one meetings Sunday with several of those leaders.

He said other world leaders including Acting President Jonathan have offered "very specific approaches to how we can solve this profound international problem."

Hails South Africa

Obama singled out South Africa for giving up its nuclear program, and said it "has been a strong, effective leader in the international community on nonproliferation issues. South Africa has special standing in being a moral leader on this issue."

"I feel very good at this stage in the degree of commitment and a sense of urgency that I have seen from the world leaders so far on this issue," Obama said. "We think we can make enormous progress on this, and this then becomes part and parcel of the broader focus that we've had over the last several weeks."

Earlier in the week, Obama approved a new nuclear policy for the United States, vowing to reduce America's nuclear arsenal, refrain from nuclear tests and not use nuclear weapons against countries that do not have them.

Obama said securing loose nuclear arms is "a central part of the process, but probably the most urgent one and the one we are most concerned with in the short term."

After his remarks, Obama met with Pakistani Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani. Obama smiled and shared a laugh with Gilani, but the Pakistani leader's words were not audible.

As reporters entered the meeting room, Obama was telling Gilani, "We've made some progress since then." It was unclear what Obama was referring to.

Pakistan has a troubled history with the United States, and anti-American sentiment runs extraordinarily high among ordinary Pakistanis. U.S. leaders  went out of their way to assure Pakistan that the United States will not walk away from  improving relations with the country , and Congress has committed billions of dollars  in new aid to the  Asian nation.


Related stories: Bill Gates meets Goodluck Jonathan

Hillary Clinton attacks corruption and bad governance in Nigeria

 Hillary Clinton arrives in Nigeria

Video report of Hillary Clinton comparing Nigeria's election to America's previous election in 2000

President Barack Obama's speech in Ghana in its entirety

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