Nigerian leader skips G8 summit

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Newly-elected Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan scrapped a trip to the G8 summit over fears he might be stranded by volcanic ash ahead of his weekend inauguration, his office said Thursday.

Jonathan had been due to fly out to Europe early Thursday and then head to the summit in the French seaside town of Deauville where leaders of the world's eight most industrialised nations are meeting until Friday.

But his spokesman Ima Niboro told AFP the trip had been "shelved due to advice from aviation authorities that volcanic ash could cause flight delays and affect the president's ability to return in good time for the inauguration" on May 29.

Last weekend's eruption of Iceland's Grimsvoetn volcano led to the grounding of hundreds of flights in Britain, Germany and other parts of northern Europe although the situation had largely returned to normal by Thursday.

Recently-elected leaders of Ivory Coast, Guinea and Niger will also be special guests of the summit alongside Algeria, Egypt, Ethiopia, Senegal and South Africa.

© 2011 AFP

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