Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier met his Nigerian counterpart Aminu Bashir Wali on the margins of the meeting of the German-Nigerian Binational Commission. The focus of their discussion was on bilateral issues, Ebola, the fight against Boko Haram terrorism, and the plight of the kidnapped girls, who remain in captivity. Foreign Minister Steinmeier underlined that he shared his Nigerian counterpart’s hope that the over 200 missing girls will soon be freed.
In a joint statement with his Nigerian counterpart Aminu Wali in Berlin on Tuesday (21 October), Foreign Minister Steinmeier highlighted the close and ever more intensive cooperation with Nigeria. The Nigerian Minister of Foreign Affairs was in Berlin to attend the meeting of the German-Nigerian Binational Commission. The focus of the discussion was on bilateral relations between Nigeria and Germany, the situation in the countries hit by the Ebola epidemic, and current developments in Africa.
The World Health Organization (WHO) declared Nigeria to be free of Ebola on Monday (20 October). Foreign Minister Steinmeier paid tribute to his Nigerian counterpart for this achievement, which he described as “one of the few rays of hope” in the fight against the epidemic. He also reiterated the willingness of the 28 EU member states to do their part in the affected regions by providing financial support and “active help on the ground”, as discussed at yesterday’s Foreign Affairs Council meeting.
Hope that the kidnapped schoolgirls will soon be freed
The threat by the Islamist terrorist group Boko Haram was also on the agenda. People in Germany were particularly shocked by the kidnapping of over 200 schoolgirls in Nigeria in April 2014. All over the world, people have been calling for the girls’ release and showing solidarity with their families in the Bring Back Our Girls campaign. Nigeria’s Minister of Foreign Affairs reported on the latest progress in talks with the terrorist group. Foreign Minister Steinmeier wished the Nigerian Government success in the negotiations: “We share your hope that the girls will be freed.”
German-Nigerian Binational Commission strengthens further cooperation
The two foreign ministers met in Berlin for the meeting of the German-Nigerian Binational Commission. Steinmeier underlined that the aim was to further intensify the “already close relations” between the two countries. He reported that the Commission had decided to strengthen cooperation in the field of forensics and border control. Steinmeier described the bilateral cooperation in the energy sector as the “flagship of our relations” which is of benefit to both countries. He also said that four solar power plants would be installed in the Nigerian state of Katsina.
Steinmeier also announced that he would meet Aminu Wali again in a few days’ time in Abuja, along with French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius. The two foreign ministers are travelling to Nigeria this weekend for the second Franco-German ministerial visit to the country. Steinmeier said that this joint visit highlights Nigeria’s importance for Germany and France, both as the most populous country in Africa and as an economic powerhouse on the African continent.