French FM to Visit Nigeria, Mali, I.Coast
French Foreign Minister Hubert Vedrine will visit Nigeria, Mali and Ivory Coast next week, launching in Nigeria an annual meeting with Africa's most populous country, the French embassy said Saturday.
Vedrine will fly into Nigeria on June 28 and hold talks with Lansana Kouyate, head of the west African regional organisation, the 15-member Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).
He will meet his Nigerian counterpart, Sule Lamido, and on June 29 will meet President Olusegun Obasanjo, the embassy said.
Vedrine and Lamido will then launch a meeting of top French and Nigerian diplomats to discuss bilateral and regional issues.
The meetings, to be made annual, were agreed during a visit by Obasanjo to Paris in February last year.
Vedrine will leave later on June 29 for Bamako, Mali, and subsequently for Abidjan, Ivory Coast, after which he will return to Paris.
Former British foreign secretary Robin Cook was to have accompanied Vedrine on the trip but his replacement in the new British government, Jack Straw, will not be on the visit, British officials said -- LAGOS (AFP)
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