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Cablegate: Ambassador's Positive Discussion with Nigerian

VZCZCXYZ0024
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHUJA #2604 3610651
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 270651Z DEC 07
FM AMEMBASSY ABUJA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 1696
INFO RUEHOS/AMCONSUL LAGOS 8447
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHDC
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHDC

UNCLAS ABUJA 002604

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT PASS TO USTR-AGAMA, TREASURY FOR PETERS ADN
HALL, DOC FOR 3317/ITA/OA/KBURRESS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EINV ETRD ECON EFIN NI
SUBJECT: AMBASSADOR'S POSITIVE DISCUSSION WITH NIGERIAN
PRESIDENT YAR'ADUA ON BIT

REF: TANSEY/MOSS 13 DECEMBER 2007 EMAIL

SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED - HANDLE ACCORDINGLY

1. (SBU) Ambassador followed-up on instruction to engage
Nigerian President Yar,Adua on his interest in moving
forward with a Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT) with the
United States, on the fringes of the December 14, 2007,
civil society event hosted by the Academy for Education
Development (AED) in a short pull aside in AED,s green
room. Ambassador raised the issue in the context of the
two fruitful December 13, 2007, discussions between both
POTUS and President Yar,Adua, and the subsequent meeting
between the latter and the Secretary on the importance of
investment for Nigeria,s growth, and in the context of the
in-depth discussion on energy sector issues. Yar,Adua
immediately seized the opportunity to highlight that he was
seeking to have trade and investment treaties with "all
those countries where we seek to have stronger
partnerships and friendships" and that "the BIT seemed to
fit into my thinking." He wanted to ensure that there
were legal frameworks -- in line with his strong stance on
the rule of law -- that were respected to further enhance
and advance investment and trade relations, particularly
with the United States.

2. (SBU) The Nigerian President went on to say that he
would notify his Commerce Minister immediately and have him
be prepared to be actively engaged with the USG on all
levels to advance the dialogue on the BIT. Ambassador told
him that she would let him know next steps soonest on this
issue and would find out when such a dialogue or a team
could come out to further advance discussions. She noted
that some dialogue had already taken place as a result of a
recent visit of a USG team within our Trade and Investment
Framework (TIFA), which has recently left Abuja; however,
we also sought his personal strong commitment on the issue,
which he said we had.

3. (SBU) Embassy will follow-up not only directly with the
Nigerian President, but also continue our dialogue on this
issue with other senior government economic and trade
contacts. The template for a BIT agreement itself has
already been forwarded to the Commerce Ministry and to the
economic advisors at the President,s Villa (ref).
Ambassador plans a post-Washington follow-up with Yar,Adua
on several issues where this will be raised as well as the
need for an over solid point of contact on trade and
investment challenges that may arise or are currently in
need of resolution. Although the President was very upbeat
about the "idea" of the BIT, the details and in-depth
changes here that will be necessary for fruitful BIT
dialogue will need to be reviewed with him very closely to
ensure that the GON recognizes just what kind of level of
commitment will be required for this desire to turn into a
reality and to move the economic and trade side of the
US-GON partnership forward.
SANDERS

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