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Cablegate: Nigeria: Developing a Structure for Bilateral

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS ABUJA 001934

SIPDIS


E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ECON ENRG PREL NI
SUBJECT: NIGERIA: DEVELOPING A STRUCTURE FOR BILATERAL
ENGAGEMENT


REF: (A) STATE 123189 (B) ABUJA 755


Sensitive But Unclassified, please protect accordingly.


1. (U) This is an action cable; see para 7.


2. (U) Embassy Abuja applauds the work of the Department on
developing a new structure for engaging Nigeria. Ref A
closely reflects Embassy thinking on next steps for post-JEPC
engagement, and also mirrors many of the issues raised by the
GON. Embassy is concerned, however, that energy is included
under the Economic Committee umbrella. Given the centrality
of energy issues in Nigeria -- as the primary source of
revenue, pollution, and bilateral trade and investment, as
well as the principal issue of domestic political competition
-- Mission believes that a fourth committee on energy is
required.


3. (SBU) Under JEPC, energy issues received specific, and
very focused attention through a separate bilateral. Also,
Department of Energy and other USG agencies met with their
GON counterparts at least every six months to discuss energy
issues. Post feels that the U.S. could benefit
significantly from a focused dialogue on energy, with special
attention to long-term implications for U.S. investment in
the oil and gas sector. This is especially the case as the
GON transitions from Joint Ventures to Production Sharing
Contracts (PSCs) as the primary mode of future exploration
and production. The growing role of natural gas production
in the Nigerian energy equation could also present new
challenges and opportunities, especially given the GON's
expressed intention to market its natural gas production in
the United States. Nigeria's role in OPEC and the West
African Gas Pipeline are other salient issues.


4. (U) In addition to the four committees, Post recommends
that the Department consider raising the profile of issues
important to Nigerians, such as HIV/AIDS and poverty
alleviation. Earlier GON proposals regarding the structure
of the committees have focused on these concerns. Our
proposal to the GON should, to the extent possible, also
incorporate Nigerian interests.


5. (U) The Committee and Working Group structure should
involve as much as possible interagency teams in Washington
that can implement specific objectives, such as attracting a
U.S. airline to Nigeria as mentioned in Ref B. Embassy is
concerned that the structure described Ref A would give the
majority of the day-to-day work to Embassy Officers.
Unfortunately, Embassy Abuja lacks sufficient staff,
expertise and infrastructure to absorb this level of
additional work. The Department should consider establishing
Office Director-led working groups that could meet once a
quarter to set benchmarks and initiate key actions.


6. (SBU) On July 31, Ambassador Jeter met with President
Obasanjo to discuss among other issues, the proposed
restructuring of U.S.-Nigeria bilateral engagement per Ref A.
President Obasanjo was receptive to the concept of holding
Military Assistance/Defense, Law Enforcement and Economic
Committees. The Ambassador informed him that the Embassy
would meet soon with the GON economic policy planning staff
to discuss the proposals.


7. (U) Action Requested: Please advise soonest whether
Embassy recommendations outlined above could be included in
the USG proposal.
Jeter

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