President Jimmy Carter arrived in Lagos, Nigeria on Friday (31 March) for talks with Lieutenant-General Olusegun Obasanjo.
President Jimmy Carter arrived in Lagos, Nigeria on Friday (31 March) for talks with Lieutenant-General Olusegun Obasanjo. It was the first time an American President had visited a black African country. On the second day of his visit, President carter said the United States would expand its political and cultural ties with Black African states.
SYNOPSIS: President Carter arrived at Murtala airport, Lagos, after a long flight from Rio de Janeiro, where he had talks with Brazilian President Ernesto Geisel. General Olusegun-Obasanjo, the Nigerian Head of State, and a large official delegation were on hand to greet the Presidential party. Reuters reported General Obasanjo as saying that U.S.-Nigerian relations had improved in the 14 months President Carter had been in office, and he expressed the hope that, while in Nigeria, the President would gain a closer understanding of African hopes for the future.
President Carter said the aim of his visit was to emphasise Africa's growing role in world affairs, and emphasise America's commitment towards political and racial harmony in Rhodesia and South Africa. On Saturday (1 April) President Carter visited the Dodan military barracks in Lagos -- where General Obasanjo has his official residence. It was here that the first round of talks were held, after the official welcoming ceremonies were completed. And later, the U.S. President praised General Obasanjo and his military government for the steps they were taking to restore civilian rule in the country next year.
Although much of President Carter's time was taken up with ceremonial engagements, officials stressed he had several fruitful discussions with General Obasanjo. A joint communique after two days of talks revealed the two leaders had pledged to work towards black majority rule in Southern Africa. It also was stressed that President Carter had committed the United States to fighting apartheid in the African continent, in line with Nigeria's foreign policy hopes.
Later, in a speech at Nigeria's National Theatre in Lagos, President Carter spoke of the increasing importance that African affairs would play in formulating American foreign policy.
American officials later said they were delighted with the way President Carter had been received by the Nigerian people. Despite the heavy schedule of formal talks and official ceremonies, President Carter -- accompanied by his wife Rosalynn, and daughter Amy -- still found time to appreciate some of Nigeria's cultural offerings, including this lavish display by traditional sango dancers. Reuters reports that, as well as discussing African issues with his Nigerian hosts, President Carter is expected to have a final round of talks, mainly on bilateral issues including oil and trade.