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                     Office of the Press Secretary
                            (Abuja, Nigeria)
For Immediate Release                                    August 26, 2000

                               FACT SHEET

     U.S.- Nigerian Cooperation on Peacekeeping and Military Reform

Nigeria has demonstrated an important commitment to regional stability and peacekeeping, spending an estimated $10 billion over the last ten years on peacekeeping operations. As the largest country and preponderant military power in the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS,) Nigeria provided most of the "muscle" deployed by ECOMOG, the military arm of ECOWAS to restore democratic governments in Liberia and Sierra Leone.

The United States has contributed over $100 million to these ECOMOG efforts. The Nigerian military, with the size, experience and readiness to undertake peacekeeping and stability missions, has been an important partner for U.S. engagement.

President Obasanjo has demonstrated important commitment to military reform, to end corruption and human rights abuses, and to provide enhanced training on the role of the military in a modern democracy.

Train and Equip. Nigeria has offered at least five battalions for service in Sierra Leone in the United Nations Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL) peacekeeping mission. The U.S. Department of Defense is training and equipping these troops on a priority basis. This "Train and Equip" program will:

Training of the first battalion has already begun. All five battalions should be ready for deployment by next summer.

Military Reform. In early 1999, the Government of Nigeria accepted the United States' offer to assist in Nigeria's military reform efforts. USAID has provided $1,000,000 for Phase I of an intensive three-part study of Nigeria's military. Phase I included the development of an action plan for professionalizing the Ministry of Defense and the Armed Forces, rationalizing force structure, establishing democratic values and strengthening civil-military relations. Phase II, scheduled to begin in September 2000 and last approximately one year, and Phase III of the study will help Nigeria implement the action plan, a central element of which is the institutional reforms needed to ensure more effective civilian control of the military. The United States and Nigeria have agreed to share the $7 million cost of the Phase II effort. Upon completion of Phase II, a third phase for sustainment will be undertaken.

Additional U.S. programs to help with the reform of Nigeria's military include:

International Military Education and Training (IMET.) $600,000 in FY 2000 funds have been allocated to enable Nigerian military officers and civilian Ministry of Defense officials to attend U.S. military educational institutions through the U.S. Department of Defense's IMET program.

Expanded-IMET (E-IMET.) DOD's "Expanded" IMET program funded, in FY 2000, participation by Nigerian senior officers in the following courses, which may also be offered in FY 2001. (Funds for this program were derived from the $600,000 IMET allocation):

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