President Bush to visit Africa in February, shuns Nigeria

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President Bush to visit Africa in February, shuns Nigeria

US President George Bush and his wife are due to visit five African countries 15-21 February, according to a White House statement made available to Panapress.”They will visit Benin, Tanzania, Rwanda, Ghana and Liberia. This trip will be an opportunity for the President to review firsthand the significant progress since his last visit in 2003,” the statement said. During the visit, the visitors and their hosts will step up discussion to increase economic development, fight HIV/AIDS, Malaria and other diseases. “The President will meet President (Boni) Yayi, (President (Jakaya) Kikwete, President (Paul) Kagame, President (John) Kufuor and President (Ellen) Johnson-Sirleaf to discuss how the United States can continue to partner with African countries to support continued democratic reform,” it added.
Other areas that will attract discussion include respect for human Rights, free trade, open investment regimes and economic opportunities in Africa. Nigeria had been mentioned as one of the stops in what is expected to be Bush’s last trip to Africa before he leaves office next year. Political analysts said the decision not to visit Nigeria could be a fallout of the African giant’s vacillation on the hosting of the US Africa Command (AFRICOM), AFRICOM, which started operations in October, has elicited varying reactions across the continent, with several nations, including Nigeria, Libya and South Africa, openly expressing opposition to what they fear might be military domination of the continent by the US.
Nigerians are opposed any plan to set up a US military base anywhere within its territory or in West Africa, but the government has been issuing conflicting signals on the country’s position.

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