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Lagos, Nigeria Joint Communiqué Issued at the Conclusion of Meetings Between the President and General Obasanjo.

April 02, 1978

At the invitation of His Excellency Lt. General Olusegun Obasanjo, Head of the Federal Military Government, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the President of the United States of America, His Excellency Jimmy Carter, and Mrs. Carter paid a State Visit to Nigeria from 31st March to 3rd April, 1978. This visit reciprocated the visit to the United States of America by the Head of the Federal Military Government from 11th to 13th October, 1977. It was the first State Visit by an American President to sub-Saharan Africa, providing President Carter an opportunity to witness firsthand the aspirations, achievements and problems of contemporary Africa.

In the course of the visit, the two Heads of State met in plenary sessions during which they discussed bilateral and international issues.

President Carter and his host, Lt. General Obasanjo, examined extensively the current state of affairs in the African region and devoted particular attention to the situation in Southern Africa.

They were fully agreed on the need for peace and stability in Africa and expressed the hope that a spirit of reconciliation will prevail in those areas of North-West Africa and in the Horn of Africa that are still victims of fratricidal conflicts.

President Carter expressed satisfaction with Nigeria's efforts in its capacity as Chairman of the OAU Good Offices Commission to restore peace between Ethiopia and Somalia. It was agreed that Nigeria should persevere in its efforts to get the parties in the dispute to negotiate a mutually acceptable and therefore durable solution. With the fighting in the Horn of Africa now ended, the two leaders expressed the hope that the remaining problems in that region will be settled by peaceful means.

On Zimbabwe, the two Heads of State expressed support for the Anglo-American proposal and reiterated their conviction that, in the present circumstances, only a settlement which is based on its principles can bring about racial harmony, prosperity and just and lasting peace in Zimbabwe. The two Heads of State agreed that the arrangements made under the Salisbury Agreement of March 3 do not change the illegal character of the present regime and are unacceptable as they do not guarantee a genuine transfer of power to the majority nor take into consideration the views of all the Zimbabwean nationalist groups.

The situation in Namibia was also carefully examined. Lt. General Obasanjo emphasized his Government's full support for SWAPO as the authentic leaders of the people in their just struggle for the genuine independence of Namibia, with its unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity full guaranteed. President Carter stressed the need for a settlement of the Namibian issue which would guarantee that all political groups would have an equal and fair opportunity to compete in free elections in which the people of Namibia would make their own choice about their future government. The two leaders agreed that it is essential for the peace and security of Africa that Namibia achieve its independence on the basis of United Nations Security Council Resolution 385.

They reviewed the current efforts of the Five Power Western Contact Group and discussed the settlement proposal which the five have developed as a means to a prompt and peaceful transition to genuine majority rule in Namibia.

The two Heads of State renewed their condemnation of the evil and oppressive system of apartheid in South Africa. They pledged their joint efforts to work toward the elimination of this system and the establishment of justice, equality and human dignity for all races in South Africa within a free society where all citizens will exercise their democratic rights to install a government of their choice. They appealed to all States to do their part toward the realization of this objective.

The Nigerian Head of State, Lt. General Obasanjo, expressed his Government's strong disappointment at the lack of impact of the many concrete proposals put forward in the past to eradicate the obnoxious system of apartheid. This he ascribed to the inadequacy of the measures adopted as well as the lack of political will on the part of Nations called upon to implement these measures. He noted that some of these Nations have pursued policies of outright collaboration with South Africa, in both military and economic matters. Finally, the Head of State re-emphasized his Government's determination to continue to extend all possible political and material support to the nationalist liberation movements in South Africa, to ensure an early end of the racist minority domination.

President Carter and Lt. General Obasanjo expressed the intention of the United States of America and the Federal Republic of Nigeria, as members of the Security Council, to work closely in the Council in the interest of strengthening international peace and security. They expressed particular approval of the Security Council's prompt action in establishing a United Nations Interim force in Lebanon and pledged their full co-operation to achieve the objectives of the mandate granted by the Security Council.

The two Heads of State exchanged views concerning the situation in the Middle East and deplored the recent violence which occurred in that area. They agreed that it is necessary and urgent to intensify efforts to achieve a just, comprehensive and durable peace based on United Nations Security Council Resolutions 249 and 338. They stressed the importance of withdrawal on all fronts pursuant to Resolution 242 and the resolution of all aspects of the Palestinian question.

The two Heads of State underscored their commitment to the principles of the United Nations Charter, particularly those concerning the importance of human rights in all societies. To this end they cited the importance of strengthening the human rights machinery of the United Nations.

In their review of the International economic situation, the two heads of State stressed the urgent need for measures to secure a prosperous, just and equitable international economic order. The two leaders placed special emphasis on the importance of close consultations between Nigeria and the United States in the North-South Economic Dialogue and in the work of the General Assembly. They agreed on the value of the United Nations Overview Committee dialogue in enhancing an understanding of global issues of common concern and in promoting development cooperation. They appealed to all nations to strive vigorously for the achievement of the goals specified in the Seventh Special Session of the United Nations General Assembly, in particular with respect to issues of vital importance to the developing countries. In this regard, Lt. General Obasanjo invited attention to the slow pace of progress concerning the establishment of the Common Fund and alleviation of the debt problems of the developing countries. The two Heads of State agreed to cooperate in order to intensify action within the United Nations system towards finding solutions to the problem of global inflation.

The two leaders discussed the United Nations Special Session on Disarmament which opens in May of 1978. As leaders of countries which have played a significant role in United Nations disarmament matters, both Heads of State agreed that the session should provide a stimulus to further concrete disarmament efforts.

The two Heads of State expressed satisfaction at the progress that had been made in recent discussions between the two Governments .on bilateral cooperation in economic, commercial and technical fields and agreed to further strengthen relations in these areas. Mutual efforts will be made to expand and diversify trade and development activities and to facilitate investment in areas of key importance to Nigeria's economic growth. For this purpose the two leaders agreed to set up joint working groups on investment and trade, technology transfer, agriculture and rural development, and education.

The President of the United States of America and Mrs. Carter expressed their profound appreciation to Lt. General Obasanjo, the Nigerian Government and all the people of Nigeria for the gracious hospitality afforded to their party during their visit to Nigeria.

The President was impressed by the visible evidence of the pace of Nigerian economic progress and the vigorous and determined efforts being undertaken by the Federal Military Government to provide for the social and economic development of the people of Nigeria.

The President of the United States was accompanied on his visit to Nigeria by Secretary of State Cyrus Vance, National Security Council Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski, United Nations Ambassador Andrew Young, Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Richard Moose, and a team of senior officials.

His Excellency the Head of State and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria was attended by Chief of Staff (Supreme Headquarters) Brigadier S. M. Yar'Adua, Commissioner for External Affairs Brigadier J. N. Garba, Commissioner for Petroleum Colonel M. Buhari, Federal Commissioner for Agriculture Mr. B. O. Mafeni, Commissioner for Economic Development Dr. O. Adewoye, and a team of senior officials.

Done at Lagos, this second day of April, 1978.


President of the United States of America


Head of the Federal Military Government

Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria

Note: The text of the joint communiqué was released at Lagos, Nigeria.

Jimmy Carter, Lagos, Nigeria Joint Communiqué Issued at the Conclusion of Meetings Between the President and General Obasanjo. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/244862

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