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Backgrounds: Nigeria Foreign Relations
Since independence, Nigerian foreign policy has been characterized by a focus on Africa and by attachment to several fundamental principles: African unity and independence; peaceful settlement of disputes; nonalignment and nonintentional interference in the internal affairs of other nations; and regional economic cooperation and development. In carrying out these principles, Nigeria participates in the Organization of African Unity (OAU), the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the Nonaligned Movement, the Commonwealth, and the United Nations.
In pursuing the goal of regional economic cooperation and development, Nigeria helped create ECOWAS, which seeks to harmonize trade and investment practices for its 16 West African member countries and ultimately to achieve a full customs union. Nigeria also has taken the lead in articulating the views of developing nations on the need for modification of the existing international economic order.
Nigeria has played a central role in the ECOWAS efforts to end the civil war in Liberia and contributed the bulk of the ECOWAS peacekeeping forces sent there in 1990. Nigeria also has provided the bulk of troops for ECOMOG forces in Sierra Leone.
Nigeria has enjoyed generally good relations with its immediate neighbors. A longstanding border dispute with Cameroon over the potentially oil-rich Bakassi Peninsula is to be resolved by the International Court of Justice in The Hague. Nigeria released about 150 Cameroonian prisoners of war in late 1998.
Nigeria is a member of the following international organizations: UN and several of its special and related agencies, Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Organization of African Unity (OAU), Organization of African Trade Union Unity (OATUU), Commonwealth, INTELSAT, Nonaligned Movement, several other West African bodies. The Babangida regime joined the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), though President-elect Obasanjo has indicated he might reconsider Nigeria's membership.
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