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BREAKING: President Tinubu receives Antony Blinken at State House

President Bola Tinubu is currently in closed-door talks with United States Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, at the Aso Rock Villa, Abuja.

Blinken who arrived at the State House at about 06:53 pm local time was received by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Yusuf Tuggar, ushered into the President’s diplomatic room for a bilateral meeting.

Although the senior US official is visiting Tinubu for the first time since the latter assumed the Presidency eight months ago, it would be his second visit to the seat of power since November 2021 when he met President Muhammadu Buhari.

Nigeria is Blinken’s third destination in his week-long whistle-stop tour which began in Cabo Verde through Ivory Coast and is scheduled to end in the Central African state of Angola.

Visiting a port in Praia, Cape Verde’s capital, that was expanded through US government assistance, Blinken remarked that the US was “all in” for Africa.

“We see Africa as an essential, critical, central part of our future,” he said.

According to the US State Department, his visit is part of a bid to forge a united front with key African democracies as crises engulf the world.

In Abidjan, Blinken met Ivorian President Alassane Ouattara, before heading to Abuja to see Nigerian President Tinubu.

The two West African powers, one Anglophone and one Francophone, have largely shared the US stance on arming Ukraine and, more recently, US support for Israel in its war with Hamas.

In 2022, Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation, and Ivory Coast, as well as Kenya in East Africa, joined the United States in a United Nations vote to condemn Russia’s aggression in Ukraine.

This is in sharp contrast with another continental power, South Africa, which the US has accused of allowing arms shipments to Russia and which most recently pushed a genocide case against Israel before the International Court of Justice.

Consequently, Blinken will not visit South Africa but he will visit Angola, which played a crucial role in mediating to end unrest in the neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo.

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