MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS
29 May 1999
Australia Welcomes Nigeria's Resumption Of Full Commonwealth Membership
I would like to join with other Commonwealth countries in offering my congratulations to Nigeria today, 29 May 1999, as it resumes full membership of the Commonwealth.
The Governor-General and Prime Minister have both sent messages to President Obasanjo congratulating him upon his inauguration today, which will mark the restoration of civilian rule in Nigeria.
Australia appreciates the challenges facing Nigeria at present and wishes President Obasanjo and the Nigerian government every success for the future.
The transition to democratic, civilian rule in Nigeria, after many years of military rule, has been a remarkable achievement. I would like to acknowledge the role played by General Abubakar, the previous Nigerian Head of State, in facilitating this process.
Australia looks forward to seeing Nigeria resume its place at the next Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Durban in November 1999.
Note to Editors (Background Information):
of the Commonwealth was suspended by Commonwealth Heads of Government
(with the exception of The Gambia) at their meeting in Auckland
in November 1995 for serious violations of the prinicples set
out in the Harare Declaration. Following the death of General
Abacha in June 1998, General Abubakar became Nigerian Head of
State and moved quickly to commit himself to a restoration of
democracy. Political prisoners were released and a timetable
for elections was established. Presidential elections were held
on 27 February 1999 and were won by Olusegun Obasanjo with approximately
62% of the vote.
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