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Cablegate: Nigeria: Usg Participation in the June 17-19 Super

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

UNCLAS ABUJA 001450

SIPDIS


DEPT FOR OES A/S TURNER FROM AMBASSADOR JETER
ALSO FOR OES SBRANDEL AND KSHIPPE
AF FOR DAS ROBERT PERRY
ABIDJAN FOR RHAWKINS


E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: SENV PREL EFIS AORC EAID NI
SUBJECT: NIGERIA: USG PARTICIPATION IN THE JUNE 17-19 SUPER
PREP COM IN ABUJA


REF: STATE 85964


1. Minister of State for the Environment Imeh Okopido
recently called me concerning the level of USG representation
for the June 17-19 Super Prep Com Ministerial to be hosted by
President Olusegun Obasanjo. Okopido told me that he has
not received a formal response to his March 22 invitation
letter to Assistant Secretary Turner, but he had heard
informally that OES was not sending anyone from Washington.


2. As noted in reftel, the Super Prep Com is an important
step toward the World Summit on Sustainable Development later
this year. The African Process, an initiative of eleven
African countries, is aimed at establishing programs on ocean
pollution from coastal sources in the regions from East
Africa around the Cape to West Africa. It represents a
serious initiative by Africans to address their environmental
problems in a regional way.


3. Okopido is one of the continent's most knowledgeable and
dynamic leaders on the environment. He has focussed
President Obasanjo's attention on important issues like gas
flaring. A positive Super Prep Com (which by Nigerian
definition would require adequate representation from the
U.S.) will help solidify the commitment of the Nigerian
government and President Obasanjo in protecting the African
environment.


4. Our experience in working with President Obasanjo on
HIV/AIDS is instructive. His interest and commitment grew as
he attended and even hosted international conferences with
high-level visitors such as former U.S. Presidents Carter and
Clinton and UN Secretary General Annan. Now President
Obasanjo is the driving force among African Heads of State on
this critical issue. He could serve the same role on the
environment. Moreover, he is an architect of NEPAD, and our
showing high-level interest in the Super Prep Com will
encourage him to inject environmental concerns into NEPAD
deliberations. In short, a successful Super Prep Com can be
an important step in mobilizing Nigeria's substantial
diplomatic and regional influence toward more effective
environmental policies.


5. We are particularly hopeful that the Assistant Secretary
can attend at least the June 19 Ministerial. If he cannot,
we would ask support in finding other high-level
participation perhaps from the EPA or other offices in the
USG. We would also ask that USAID send an expert from
Washington rather than ask a local USAID official to
participate in the Abuja Super Prep Com. USAID Nigeria has
no one on staff with the requisite experience, as environment
issues are not covered by the Nigeria transitional strategic
objectives.
JETER

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