Following his visits to Senegal and Mali, Foreign Minister Westerwelle travelled on to Nigeria on Friday (2 November), where he will open the first meeting of the German-Nigerian Binational Commission together with his Nigerian counterpart Olugbenga Ashiru. In addition, he will hold talks at ECOWAS headquarters on the resolution of the crisis in Mali. On Saturday he will meet with representatives of the Muslim and Christian communities to discuss issues relating to freedom of belief and religious tolerance.
Before his departure, Foreign Minister Westerwelle commented as follows:
Nigeria is a key partner for us in Africa. We want Nigeria to play an active role in shaping the continent as a whole and West Africa in particular. The region must shoulder a large part of the responsibility for overcoming the crisis in Mali. We will do what we can to support regional and African efforts. I am gravely concerned about the terrorist activities of the Islamist sect Boko Haram. We are confident that Nigeria will do everything to protect its citizens from terrorist violence.