Boko Haram Is "Absolutely Unreconciliable," US Secretary Clinton Tells FG

BOKO HARAM IS "ABSOLUTELY UNRECONCILIABLE," US SECRETARY CLINTON TELLS FG

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LAOLU AKANDE, WASHINGTON DC
Sept 30-In very strong terms the US government is speaking out against Nigeria's government's efforts at negotiating with Boko Haram, insisting that it might be impossible for the federal government to convince Boko Haram to end their violence, which the Americans consider as "absolutely unjustifiable," because many of such terror groups are "absolutely unreconcilable," according to US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

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Speaking in Washington DC Thursday afternoon after her first official meeting with Foreign Minister Gbenga Ashiru, accompanied by Nigeria's Ambassador to the US, Prof. Ade Adefuye, at the State Department, Mrs Clinton reiterated America's dissatisfaction and condemnation of Boko Haram's use of force saying,"we think that its attacks on ordinary citizens, on institutions of the Nigerian state, on the United Nations office in Abuja, are absolutely unjustifiable."
According to her, terror groups like Boko Haram "cannot be convinced to end their violence and participate in society," stressing that there is no set or principles or beliefs that can justify taking the lives of innocent people.
Condoling with families whose loved ones have died in the many of the Boko Haram's "senseless attacks," the US Secretary of State observed that the American government is "working with Nigeria to try to develop capabilities to provide better security, to strengthen the security sector, because we think that some terrorist and extremist groups are absolutely unreconciliable.They cannot be convinced to end their violence and participate in society."
However she said if an opportunity exists for any dialogue or outreach, the US would support such as it has done elsewhere around the world. But Clinton added that such a dialogue nonetheless will have to go hand in hand with better security against such groups, saying "we also know that it has to be both at the same time."
"There has to be a strong, effective security response and an effort to try to remove the reasons why people would, in any way, condone or support this kind of terrorism," the former US first lady explained.

Hillary Clinton then reassured that the US will "stand with Nigeria as it faces serious security issues. The bombing of the UN headquarters in Abuja last month was a horrific and cowardly act, and we want to work with Nigeria and West Africa to improve security and to make sure that we also address the legitimate needs of people before extremists have a chance to exploit them."

In his own comment on the issue while addressing the press, Nigeria's Foreign Affairs Minister Ashiru restated that the US has offered to support and assist Nigeria "to combat this issue of terrorism."

According to Ashiru who had delivered a lecture earlier on Thursday at the United State Peace Institute at the US capital "no one country can handle this issue on its own, so it has to be multilateral and multifaceted. And from all our meetings, we've received assurances of support to help Nigeria in this new wave, which of course, as you rightly know, is much new to us in Nigeria. But we believe that our government is on top of the situation and they will continue to develop expertise and capability to manage and curtail this new menace that we have."

The US Secretary of State also disclosed that both the US President Barack Obama and herself had exchanged ideas with Nigeria's President Goodluck Jonathan on the issue of Palestinian membership application at the United Nations.

Said she "I had the opportunity to talk to President Jonathan, as did President Obama, last week at the United Nations General Assembly. We believe strongly, and we have certainly communicated that to the president and the foreign minister, that the only route to a Palestinian state, which we want to see happen, is through negotiations. We know that whatever does or doesn't happen in the United Nations will not create a state, and our goal is to see two states living side by side in peace and security."

Clinton observed that being friends to both the Israelis and Palestinians, the Nigerian government "will tell both of them, get back to the negotiating table, because that's where the differences must be resolved. It is the only place where we can get a durable and lasting peace, but we have certainly made it clear to all of our friends that we want to see a return to negotiations. Anything which is done that disrupts that or detours that is a postponement of the outcome that we are all seeking."

At the Clinton-Ashiru meeting on Thursday afternoon, the US government also announced the approval of $150m in financing for the Union Bank. The US Secretary of State disclosed that the money is "to help revitalize the Union Bank of Nigeria, and to reach previously un-banked people in Nigeria. And we will look for ways to support Nigeria as it reduces inequality and builds a broader base for prosperity."

She said economic development is key and the US wants to see Nigeria prosper and grow. According to her Nigeria is one of the fastest-growing economies in the world, with the largest population in Africa and strong trading relationships.

"We want to see Nigeria prosper and grow. To this end, the United States Overseas Private Investment Corporation, OPIC, has just approved $250 million in financing, the US Secretary of State disclosed.