Nigerian leader signs deals in Brazil

July 30, 2009 12:00 am

, BRASILIA, Jul 30 – Nigerian President Umaru Yar’Adua spent a brief visit to Brazil on Wednesday signing bilateral cooperation agreements and talking South America-Africa ties with President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, officials said.

The quick trip occurred as Yar’Adua’s army sent another thousand soldiers to bolster its offensive against an armed radical Islamist group in Nigeria’s north.

More than 300 people have been killed in the fighting, the worst unrest since November last year when up to 700 people were killed in clashes between Muslims and Christians.

The deals signed in Brasilia had to do with energy, biotechnology and sport, Brazilian officials said.

OPEC member Nigeria is Brazil’s top oil supplier.

Yar’Adua did not make himself available to reporters, and he made no public comment on the unrest raging in his country.

According to a speech he gave Brazilian officials before lunching with Lula, he said he wanted to use an upcoming South America-Africa summit in Caracas in September to reinforce ties.

Lula hailed Nigeria’s role "in peace-keeping and regional stability."

Yar’Adua was accompanied by his wife and his ministers of defense, foreign business, science and technology, sport, and energy, for the hours-long visit.

Lula has visited Nigeria twice, in 2005 and in 2006. Yar’Adua’s predecessor, Olusegun Obasanjo, visited Brazil in 2005.


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