|Wikileaks:||View 01ABUJA1934 at Wikileaks.org|
|Tags:||ECON ENRG PREL NI|
|Redacted:||This cable was not redacted by Wikileaks.|
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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