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Begin forwarded message:
From: "Lee, Carol" >
Date: September 20, 2016 at 12:29:17 PM EDT
To: "Allen, Jess Jessica" >
Subject: Travel pool report #2
Pool held briefly after the conclusion of POTUS's speech before moving to the spray of his bilat with President Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria. The speech was open press but couple of notes on atmosphere: FLOTUS and Dr. Jill Biden sat together in seats off to the side, close to the stage; Italian Prime Minister Renzi was there (Italy was seated just below pool's viewing box); Iran and Syria had representatives there; Secretary Kerry and Ambassador Power were seated together for US.
Pool was brought into the room for the bilat with Mr. Buhari at 12:08pm. The delegations were seated across from each other at a long, rectangular table. Among those on the US side: Secretary Kerry, Ambassador Power, Deputy National Security Advisor Avril Haines, Kyle Murphy, Gayle Smith.
Mr. Obama spoke first:
He said he was very pleased able to work with Mr. Buhari, said he's made progress while in office particularly on combating Boko Haram.
"We discussed here today additional ways that we can make further progress" not only to destroy Boko Haram but also to help people recover.
He said they discussed how Nigeria role as exporter, the need for a reduction of conflict in the Niger Delta region. He said Mr. Buhari wisely is heading up an effort to try to make progress on the issue. "We want to be helpful in any way we can," he said.
POTUS said Mr. Buhari has taken bold economic reforms. "We pledged to offer all the assistance we can in those areas," he said.
He said Nigeria has helped with climate change. "He's going to be president longer than I am," POTUS joked of Mr. Buhari, but the US and Nigeria have put in place framework for cooperation in years to come.
Mr. Buhari was very difficult to hear. He said they identified security, economy and corruption as problems early on and have been very successful on Boko Haram. He thanked the US for its support. And he wished POTUS a happy retirement.
Pool is holding before next event.