Canada and Nigeria still negotiating on surveillance equipment for missing girls

Minister of International Development Christian Paradis. Photo:

Minister of International Development Christian Paradis. Photo:

The Canadian Press

OTTAWA - Canada and Nigeria are still negotiating whether the African country will be getting Canadian military surveillance equipment to help in its search for nearly 300 kidnapped teenage girls.

Canadian Development Minister Christian Paradis says diplomats from both countries are still working out the details of Canada’s offer of assistance, which he personally delivered this week.

Paradis was briefing journalists after meeting with Nigeria’s vice-presidents on Tuesday on a previously scheduled trip to the country for a international development meeting.

The Harper government has offered to provide surveillance equipment, plus the military personnel to operate it, in an effort to help find the hundreds of teenaged girls abducted by the Boko Haram Islamic militant group last month.

Paradis was in the Nigerian capital of Abuja this week for a meeting of the World Economic Forum on Africa.

Canada was appointed chair of the organization’s steering committee, which will look at how to create a new set of international development priorities once the current United Nation Millennial Development Goals expire in 2015.

Paradis said Canada will look at ways of leveraging support from the private sector and philanthropists to help create economic growth and sustainable development in poor countries.

But he declined to make a commitment on whether Canada what restart overseas development spending after 2015.

Former finance minister Jim Flaherty announced the aid spending freeze in a previous budget as a part of the government’s deficit reduction strategy.

“Canada will work with other nations to leverage new partnerships as well as financing tools and sources to generate jobs, growth, and prosperity in developing countries,” Paradis said.

© The Canadian Press, 2014