I Didn’t Discuss ‘Shithole’ Comment With Trump, Says Buhari

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I Didn’t Discuss ‘Shithole’ Comment With Trump, Says Buhari

I Didn’t Discuss ‘Shithole’ Comment With Trump, Says Buhari

I Didn’t Discuss ‘Shithole’ Comment With Trump, Says Buhari

• Buhari, the first sub – Saharan Africa president to meet Trump since he was sworn in January 2017.

• Buhari seeking support in his battle against Boko Haram, as well as investmen.

Nigerian president Muhammadu Buhari Monday said he avoided bringing up President Donald Trump’s alleged vulgar remarks about African countries when the two presidents today at the White House because he was not sure his American counterpart truly made comment.

Buhari, the first sub – Saharan Africa president to meet Trump since he was sworn in January 2017, is currently in the US for bilateral talks on the invitation of the American president .

Trump came under fire early in the year after he reportedly called some African countries ‘shithole’ at a private White House meeting on January 12. But he denied making the comment and labelled his accusers as fake news peddlers.

Also read: Trump To Host Buhari On April 30 In Washington

Nigeria’s fight against the Boko Haram jihadist group was expected to top the menu for talks Monday when President Donald Trump meets Nigeria’s Muhammadu Buhari, president of Africa’s most populous and wealthiest country. In his talks with Trump, Buhari will be seeking support in his battle against Boko Haram, as well as investment in Nigeria’s rickety infrastructure.

Trump’s receiving Buhari at the White House just after visits by France’s Emmanuel Macron and Germany’s Angela Merkel is a positive signal, analysts say.

“The fact that the president of Africa’s most populous country is visiting Washington at all may be more important to strengthening the US- Africa relationship than any discussion of policy during the trip,” said John Campbell, a former US ambassador in Abuja who is now at the Council of Foreign Relations.

Talks on security, business
The White House says both security and business will be up for discussion during the visit.

Nigeria is entering its ninth year fighting Boko Haram extremists, who have devastated the northeast of the country and killed over 20,000 people in a bloody quest to establish an Islamist state.

Trump’s administration has agreed to the sale of a dozen A-29 Super Tucano turboprop light attack aircraft for use in the fight against the jihadist group, a deal worth a reported $496 million.

In January 2017, then- president Barack Obama froze the deal after Nigeria’s air force bombed a refugee camp, killing more than 100 people, on a mission against Boko Haram. Washington is now ready to allow the sale to go forward. But it has come under scrutiny inside Nigeria, where lawmakers are accusing the president of illegally withdrawing funds to purchase the planes.

Nigeria is also seeking support for its farm and transport sectors . Buhari is scheduled to meet with potential investors in Nigerian farming and food processing. Amid intensifying competition with China and Europeans for the business of oil – rich Nigeria, officials accompanying Buhari also will be meeting with aviation giant Boeing, according to his office.

On Friday, General Electric announced that an international consortium it leads has signed a deal for a $2 billion project to refurbish Nigeria’s narrow – gauge railway. Both sides have something to gain from the meeting of the two presidents, Peter Pham, director of the Africa Center at the Washington -based Atlantic Council, told AFP.

“On President Trump’s side, it’s definitely putting that controversy behind him,” Pham said, referring to the “ shithole countries” remark .
For Buhari, who will seek reelection in 2019, “It’s having the prominence of being the first African leader received at the White House in this administration,” Pham said .

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