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Cablegate: Nigeria: Operation Avid Recovery Made a Difference

Published: Mon 6 May 2002 05:29 PM
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
UNCLAS ABUJA 001404
SIPDIS
SENSITIVE
FROM AMBASSADOR JETER
DEPARTMENT FOR AF, AF/W, AF/RAS, PM
EUCOM FOR DCINC, POLAD
NSC FOR AFRICA DIRECTOR
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL MASS EAID PINS MARR MOPS NI
SUBJECT: NIGERIA: OPERATION AVID RECOVERY MADE A DIFFERENCE
SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED - PLEASE PROTECT ACCORDINGLY
1. (U) I want to express my profound gratitude to our
colleagues at EUCOM, the NSC, USAID and State (AF and PM) for
their exceptional support for U.S. relief operations in
Nigeria since January 27th this year.
2. (SBU) As all of you know, the catastrophic explosions that
devastated the Ikeja Cantonment could have had profoundly
negative consequences on the stability of Nigeria, in
addition to the tragic loss of life and destruction of
property that occurred.
3. (U) Our response was immediate and genuine. Resources
provided through OFDA and the authority to transfer the
remaining Operation Focus Relief (OFR) supplies to Nigeria
went a long way in alleviating the initial human suffering
and demonstrated the caring of the American people.
4. (SBU) Still, more was needed to ensure that the fledgling
democracy in Africa,s most populous nation would not be
diminished by this tragic development. When President
Obasanjo first discussed with me his special appeal to
President Bush for further assistance, the deep concern on
his face told the whole story.
5. (U) President Bush,s quick and positive response to
President Obasanjo's request underlined the importance of
U.S.-Nigeria relations and our gratitude for Nigeria's
support following our own national horrors on September 11.
However, the execution of President Bush,s decision fell to
all of you. Because of the hard work of those in Washington
and at EUCOM, Operation Avid Recovery was implemented quickly
and was a shining success.
6. (U) I would also like to express my deep appreciation to
our highly professional soldiers and airmen, who, working
hand-in-hand with our colleagues at the Consulate General in
Lagos, carried out the daunting tasks of medical support for
the operation, disposal of the ordnance, and public education
on its dangers. These brave and professional men and women
made us all very proud, and were outstanding representatives
of our country.
7. (U) The good work still continues. A State Department
contractor is currently gearing up for 90 days of further UXO
clearance, which will make the tragedy of January 27th
eventually fade into history.
8. (SBU) Nigeria is entering a very difficult period for this
young democracy. Elections are approaching, and tensions may
run high. Regardless of the electoral outcome, America has
sent a powerful message to this nation: when the chips were
down, and our friend was in need, the United States offered a
hand of friendship and support. I suspect that the people of
this country will not forget what you did here.
JETER
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