Nigeria and the United States are continuing discussions designed to expand mutual cooperation across a broad range of shared interests. The West African nation is one of America's key international partners, and our 2 countries established a special binational commission earlier this year to bolster the relationship.
Nigeria's Foreign Affairs Permanent Secretary and two delta state governors met with top US officials September 13 and 14 to discuss economic development, environmental protection and governance issues in the Niger Delta region, and the larger issue of Nigeria's on-going role in regional security. The delta is of integral importance to both Nigeria and the U.S. and vital to Nigeria's prosperity as a nation.
Insecurity is rampant in the area, where local communities haven't benefited from this wealth, and dissident groups are fighting the government. An amnesty program set up last year has cut the fighting dramatically, but sporadic incidents of violence in the region show that there is much left to do. The recent discussions focused on ways to bring a durable and lasting peace that enables the Nigerian government at the federal and local levels, as well as the international community, to promote local development.
The talks later moved on to Nigeria's regional security role. The nation has long taken a lead in promoting the stability of West Africa, and officials discussed ways the United States can help further this work.
Two U.S. and Nigerian working groups met previously to discuss issues of good governance and power sector development. The talks offer more proof of the U.S. commitment to Nigeria and the important role it plays in Africa.