Nigerian president Muhammadu Buhari is meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump in Washington on Monday - in the first visit by an African head of state to Trump's White House. Terrorism, trade, and the sale of American military equipment to Nigeria are at the top of the agenda.
Mr. Trump commented on their "great relationship" and planned talks about trade and security ahead of the presser, adding: "Especially as it relates to terrorism," Trump said, adding that "we've had serious problems with Christians who have been murdered, killed in Nigeria... We're going to work on that problem and work on that problem very, very hard, because we can't allow that to happen."
.@POTUS Trump with President @MBuhari: The United States is working to expand trade and commercial ties with African nations, including #Nigeria. We hope to be the economic partner of choice for nations across the continent and across the world. pic.twitter.com/NQeXCYfKNo— Department of State (@StateDept) April 30, 2018
When asked about Trump's vulgar language to describe African nations:— NBC News (@NBCNews) April 30, 2018
Nigerian Pres. Buhari says, "the best thing for me is to keep quiet."
Pres. Trump adds: "We didn't discuss it. And you do have some countries that are in very bad shape and very tough places to live in." pic.twitter.com/g6SUlLp8r3
TRUMP: President Buhari, I want to thank you very much for traveling to Washington for these important discussions. It's a true pleasure to welcome you to our nation's capital.
Nigeria is the largest democracy in Africa. As I conveyed to President Buhari in our discussions, the United States deeply values and appreciates Nigeria's role as a strong democratic leader in the region.
The United States is currently working to expand trade and commercial ties with African nations, including Nigeria, to create jobs and wealth in all of our countries. We hope to be the economic partner of choice for nations across the continent and all around the world.
And you see what's happening with respect to trade and the United States. We are being respected again.
I hope all African countries and countries throughout the world, that we also will be supporting you and that they will, likewise, support us in our bid, along with Canada and Mexico, for the 2026 World Cup.
We will be watching very closely. And any help that they could give us in that bid, we would appreciate.
I'm pleased that Nigeria is one of our largest trading partners in the region, and we look forward to growing our trade relationship based on the principle of fairness and reciprocity.
But we give Nigeria well over $1 billion in aid every year. And we have already started talking with the president about taking down the trade barriers -- very substantial barriers to the United States trading with Nigeria. So we think that we are owed that.
President Buhari has also taken several steps to fight corruption and improve the Nigerian business climate. And, most of all, to me, yet again, is ripping down those trade barriers.
These measures will make it easier for Nigeria and the United States companies to invest, and we will be investing substantially in Nigeria if they can create that level playing field that we have to, very much, ask for and maybe demand.
I especially want to thank President Buhari for Nigeria's partnership and leadership in the fight against terrorism. He's been a real leader.
Nigeria was one of the first African nations to join the Coalition to Defeat ISIS, and Nigerian forces are currently leading regional efforts against ISIS in West Africa. And doing very well, as we have.
Nigeria is also leading African nations in the fight against Boko Haram and -- another ruthless jihadist terrorist group. They -- we've been reading about them. They kidnapped the young girls and young women, many of whom never are seen again. It's tough stuff.
This summer, it was my honor to meet with two brave young women, Joy Bishara and Lydia Pogu, who were kidnapped by Boko Haram in April of 2014 at the secondary school in Nigeria.
I was deeply moved by their inspiring stories of courage, resilience and survival. They really were two amazing young women.
I told Joy and Lydia, my administration is committed to combating both jihadist terrorism and the scourge of human trafficking and smuggling.TRUMP: In the world today, there is more human trafficking than there has ever been, if you can believe this. They use the internet better than almost anybody is able to use the internet. So think of it: In a modern world, in this world, there's more human trafficking and slavery than at any time in the history of this world. It's hard to believe.
To protect Americans from these menaces, I have called on Congress to close deadly immigration loopholes that are exploited by terrorists, traffickers and criminals.
Just look at our southern border and our weak and obsolete immigration laws. They are obsolete and they are weak and they are pathetic. And there's no country in the world that has laws like we do. They've got to change and they've got to change now for the safety of our country.
We're also helping our Nigerian partners by facilitating intelligence cooperation and providing training and military equipment to Nigerian forces.
For example, we recently sold Nigeria 12 U.S. A-29 Super Cutano (sic) aircraft -- it's a great aircraft -- in the first ever sale of American military equipment to Nigeria. These new aircraft will improve Nigeria's ability to target terrorists and protect civilians.
Finally, we're deeply concerned by religious violence in Nigeria, including the burning of churches and the killing and persecution of Christians. It's a horrible story.
We encourage Nigeria and the federal, state and local leaders to do everything in their power to immediately secure the affected communities and to protect innocent civilians of all faiths, including Muslims and including Christians.
Mr. President, thank you again for visiting the White House and being with us today. Nigeria is a valued partner and a good friend.
I look forward to working closely with you to deepen our cooperation and forge an even closer partnership. The United States is committed to working alongside Nigeria as we seek a future of strength, prosperity and peace for both of our countries.
Mr. President, thank you very much. Thank you.
BUHARI: Mr. President of the United States of America, ladies and gentlemen of the media, it has been a pleasure and honor to visit Washington, D.C., at the kind invitation of President Donald Trump.
Nigeria and the United States share a long history of close and cordial relations, which encompass political, economic, military, social and cultural cooperation.
Our two countries maintain a strategic partnership for peace and security, conflict resolution as well as a global fight against terrorism. We also share common futures as secular federal states practicing a similar democratic model of governance and committed to the universal values of fundamental human rights and freedoms, free enterprise, social justice and the rule of law.BUHARI: President Trump and his team and myself and the Nigerian team discussed issues related to security, trade, governance, human rights and humanitarian crises.
We congratulated the leaders of the North and South Korea on their historic summit, and we applaud them for the positive commitment they have made towards denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. President Trump deserves a great deal of credit for his statemanly role in transforming so dramatically the course of events in that region.
We also congratulated the United States government on the important role it played in the defeat of ISIS, although some of the remnants have found their way to the Sahel region. We recognize the strong United States support in our fight against terrorism, and also appreciated very much the United States agreement to sell 12 Super Tucano A-29 warplanes and weapons to Nigeria to effectively fight terrorism.
To contain the spate of insurgency in Nigeria, the federal government has adopted a monthly sectorial approach involving related government agencies to address the social, economic and political dimensions, while the armed forces of Nigeria assist the (inaudible) authority to provide security and maintain law and order.
As part of efforts to address emergent cases of insurgency in the country, the Nigerian military adopted -- the Nigerian military adopted counterterrorism insurgency approach codenamed Operation Safe Corridor to deradicalize, rehabilitate and reintegrate willingly surrendered Boko Haram members into the larger society.
This program is currently embarking on a number of projects, including secure operation (ph) centers and integrative farms comprising poultry, fish pond and greenhouse farming, among others.
A number of international partners, including International Organization for Migration, have contributed to the success of Operation Safe Corridor. We indicated that we will appreciate whatever support we could also get from the United States.
We express (ph) gratitude to the United States support in the reconstruction and rehabilitation efforts in the northeast of Nigeria, as well as humanitarian assistance to the internally displaced persons through agencies such as the United States Agency for International Development and other international partners.
The United States of America has been to date the biggest contributor to the humanitarian response, and last year gave approximately half a billion United States dollars in cash and in kind contribution through the United Nations and other inter-governmental organizations. This mainly supported protection activities, health, food assistance and shelter.
We are doing all we can to secure the release of the remaining abducted school girls from Dapchi and Chibok. In this context, we will continue to welcome United States collaboration in intelligence gathering, hostage negotiations and information sharing.