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Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Trump administration to sell high-tech aircraft worth nearly $600 million to Nigeria

The United States is set to move forward with the sale of high-tech aircraft to the Nigerian govt for its campaign against Boko Haram Islamic extremists.

According to the AP, Congress is expected to receive formal notification within weeks, setting in motion a deal with Nigeria that the Obama administration had planned to approve at the very end of Barack Obama's presidency. 
The arrangement will call for Nigeria to purchase up to 12 Embraer A-29 Super Tucano aircraft with sophisticated targeting gear for nearly $600 million, one of the officials said.
The officials were not authorized to discuss the terms of the sale publicly and requested anonymity to speak about internal diplomatic conversations.
Though President Donald Trump has made clear his intention to approve the sale of the aircraft, the National Security Council is still working on the issue.
Military sales to several other countries are also expected to be approved but are caught up in an ongoing White House review. Nigeria has been trying to buy the aircraft since 2015.
Embraer is a Brazilian conglomerate, but the company has been in the United States for nearly 40 years, a spokeswoman said. The company also operates facilities in California, Tennessee, Arizona and Connecticut, employing nearly 2,000 people.
                                                                                                                                              
Once Congress is officially notified of the sale, lawmakers who want to derail it have 30 days to pass veto-proof legislation. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., chairman of the Armed Services Committee, also said he backs the sale. 

"We've really got to try to do what we can to contain them," McCain said of Boko Haram.
Feb. 15 White House statement summarizing Trump's first phone call with Buhari said the president "expressed support for the sale of aircraft from the United States to support Nigeria's fight against Boko Haram." 

Sen. Ben Cardin of Maryland, the top Democrat on the Foreign Relations Committee, said in mid-February he was weary of the sale because of the Nigerian military's impunity. Cardin, however, said this week he's not trying to block the deal. 

"Ultimately we hope that the sale goes forward," he said. "But there is progress that needs to be made in protecting the civilian population"

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