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    At a news conference in London on Thursday (17 July), the Nigerian Minister of External Affairs, Mr.

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    GV ZOOM TO CU nigerian External Affairs Minister, Mr. Ishaya Audu, speaking to reporters in English

    REPORTER: "Mr. Audu, your visit here is a forerunner of the President, the (indistinct) President."

    MR. AUD: "I think you have got too many issues wrapped up into one. The purpose of my visit is really `fence-mending'. It is very true that during the zimbabwe issue the relationships between the British and the Nigerian governments have cooled down somewhat, and, I was cordially invited and felt that I should agree to come, and I have agreed to come. And in my view the visit has been very worthwhile, and I do hope that my counterpart will also return the visit, and in that way, U.K.-Nigeria relationships will be sort-of restored back to normal.

    "Now the B.P. Issue as far as the Nigerian government is concerned, is a totally different matter whatsoever. It's a totally different matter, and there is no connection with this particular visit. The issues connected with that are very clear. That an action has been taken, there is no question of reversing the action by there are still to be negotiations with regard to the payment of compensation which we are ready to enter into anytime."

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    Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved

    Background: At a news conference in London on Thursday (17 July), the Nigerian Minister of External Affairs, Mr. Ishaya Audu, said his country was keen to improve relations with Britain. Relations were strained when the former military regime seized B.P. (British Petroleum) assets in Nigeria, claiming that the company had been channelling oil to South Africa. The new civilian government has refused to hand them back.

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