Buhari hails US backing of Okonjo-Iweala’s WTO bid

Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari on Saturday said he welcomes the pronouncement of the Office of the United States Trade Representative signifying withdrawal of the country’s objection to the emergence of Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala as Director-General of World Trade Organization (WTO).

The United States under former President Donald Trump had refused to back Okonjo-Iweala, which delayed her appointment as the WTO Director-General, despite the positive disposition of other global leaders to her leadership of the world trade body.

“We certainly welcome the decision of the new US administration to remove the last obstacle in the path of Okonjo-Iweala to becoming the first female and the first person of African descent to lead the organization,” Buhari said in a statement by Presidential Spokesman Garba Shehu.

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“Nigeria and the entire African continent are happy about this new U.S position, which signifies a shift and an important turnaround in the relations between our continent and the United States under the Biden administration.

“Today, we see that the United States stands with Nigeria and Africa with the acceptance of our widely respected citizen, Okonjo-Iweala to lead the WTO. We look forward to working very closely with the new U.S administration,” the president said.

Buhari said Nigeria looks forward to working very closely with the new U.S administration on this and all issues of common interests, especially in such areas as accelerated economic growth, fight against terrorism and deepening progress on development issues.

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