Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Ambassador Sanders' Remarks At a Workshop on Aviation Security and Safety

Welcome Remarks of U.S. Ambassador Robin Renée Sanders

Workshop on Aviation Security and Safety

November 17-18, 2008 – Abuja, Nigeria
All protocols duly observed.

Good morning and welcome to the Aviation Safety and Security Workshop which is highlighting the Changing Face of Aviation and Security in Nigeria. Some might rephrase by saying, Safer Skies for Nigeria. The U.S. Mission to Nigeria congratulates the Government of Nigeria as well as the private sector in the quest to attain the Category 1 status from the United States Federal Aviation Authority and thanks our partners in planning this workshop, the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, and the Boeing Company.

The intent of this workshop is to create an atmosphere that allows each and every attendee to fully understand all the steps necessary for any country, including Nigeria, to attain Category 1 status, and as importantly, to keep it. I want to also thank all of you who have stepped up to participate by sponsoring talks, workshops, tea and lunch breaks. This type of public- private partnership is indeed the cornerstone to Nigeria’s future success in the global economy, because it brings all sectors together for a better understanding and an agreed way forward—while pooling resources and creating synergies that make a whole which is greater than the sum of the parts.

On the African continent the United States has been working with since the late 1990s to implement and manage a Safe Skies for Africa program. This is a U.S. presidential initiative, and it aims to increase the number of sub Saharan Africa countries that meet the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) standards, improve safety at airports in the area, and improve regional air navigation services in Africa by deploying modern technologies. Additional U.S. government agencies such as the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS), U.S. Customs Service, Department of Defense and U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) also support the initiative. Dr. Demuren can be the best speaker on how these programs have benefited Nigeria.

As partners, along with our sponsors and government leaders, we are offering this Workshop to focus on the eight key Category 1 areas that the U.S. is working on with Nigeria through its Federal Aviation Authority. Those are:
- Legislation
- Qualified technical personnel
- Regulation
- Licensing and certification
- Civil air authority structure and oversight functions
- Continued surveillance obligations
- Technical guidance
- Resolution of safety issues

These are presented here in four concurrent workshops on
- Safety and Security
- Environment
- Infrastructure
- Capacity Building

The message from us to you during this Workshop is that the United States, as a friend and partner, wants Nigeria to do well. We recognize that you face important challenges and crossroads, but we want you to know that we are with you in your efforts and will continue our vigil to partner with you to achieve your goals.

So thank you, friends, for joining us for this Workshop, enjoy your two-days, ask good questions, participate vigorously, please take this opportunity seriously.

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