US embassy cable - 01ABUJA1934

NIGERIA: DEVELOPING A STRUCTURE FOR BILATERAL ENGAGEMENT

Identifier: 01ABUJA1934
Wikileaks: View 01ABUJA1934 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Embassy Abuja
Created: 2001-08-03 13:10:00
Classification: UNCLASSIFIED
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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