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US could lift travel ban on 'important partner' Chad - Tillerson
13 March 2018, 10:52 | Myrtle Vega
Rex Tillerson cuts short Africa trip to return to Washington
There are indications that the United States Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson may not visit Nigeria as earlier expected due to "urgent work back home".
His meeting with the president was announced by Buhari's Personal Assistant on New Media, Bashir Ahmad on Twitter.
The meeting started some few minutes after 4 p.m. after President Buhari returned from an official visit to Benue State.
"We had a very good trip from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the State Department late past year... and we had a very good exchange and many, many important positive steps have been taken by the government of Chad to strengthen the control over its own passports, to strengthen the information-sharing", he said.
He pledged free and fair polls in 2019, recalling that the then U.S Secretary of State, John Kerry, had visited before the 2015 polls "and told the party in government then and those of us in opposition to behave ourselves and we did". "We appreciate Chad's role providing security for its own citizens" and neighboring countries, he said, adding that it contributes about 4,000 troops to regional forces fighting Islamist militants.
USA words and deeds are colliding as Tillerson travels across Africa.
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On March 11, Tillerson held talks with Juma and her Tourism counterpart Najib Balala in Nairobi. "These steps are going to allow us to take action to begin to normalize" the situation, he said.
"So, the United States is ready to engage and coordinate efforts as well".
The Chad issue has emerged as a sore point between the State Department and Homeland Security, exposing fault lines within Trump's administration.
Still, that's no reason why the two countries can't continue working closely together to fight growing threats to Africa's Sahel region posed by al-Qaida affiliates like Boko Haram and the newly designated West Africa wing of the Islamic State group, Tillerson and Chad's foreign minister said.
"The Secretary is feeling better and will resume his normal schedule tomorrow (Sunday)", Undersecretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Steve Goldstein told the pool reporters traveling with the secretary.
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