ABUJA: Pakistan and Nigeria on Tuesday agreed to cooperate in the fields of counter-terrorism and defence, besides giving impetus to enhancement of trade, commerce, industry, agriculture, infrastructure, investment and human resource development.
They also agreed to intensify cooperation at the international forums and efforts for reforms in the UN Security Council. This was announced by President Mamnoon Hussain and Nigerian President Dr Goodluck Jonathan at a press conference after holding delegation level talks. President Mamnoon Hussain, who is in Nigeria on an official four-day visit, offered cooperation to his counterpart in different fields. He also expressed his deep sympathy and concern over the recent abduction of 273 girl students and prayed for their early and safe recovery.
The president said that the government of Pakistan was establishing a “Look Africa Policy” to further fortify their relations in all areas of cooperation to the mutual benefit of their peoples. “Pakistan attaches great importance to its relations with Africa in general and Nigeria in particular. It is a matter of great satisfaction that Pakistan and Nigeria have similarity of views on regional and international issues of mutual interest,” he added. He also stressed upon more frequent bilateral exchanges at heads of states/governments level, which was imperative for further strengthening of political, economic and commercial relations.
He recalled that in 2nd session of the Joint Ministerial Commission on April 7-8 in Abuja facilitated review of the status of their economic and trade relations. It also provided a good opportunity to explore ways and means for further strengthening of cooperation in diverse areas of mutual interest, he added. Expressing his satisfaction, the president said that the total volume of bilateral trade between two countries during 2012-13 had been more doubled as compared to 2011-12. “This is in line with our vision of strengthening trade relation with Nigeria not only in the bilateral context but also in the context of the decision taken during the D-8 Summit,” he added.
President Mamnoon opined that the two countries could benefit from further strengthening of cooperation in the field of defence, including training of officials in the defence institutions as well as from the advance defence technology that Pakistan offered. He said Pakistan regularly offered courses to Nigerian officials in the field of banking and finance, railways and postal services as well as to the Nigerian students in various fields of study. He said that during his stay in Abuja, he had one-to-one meeting with President Jonathan which was followed by delegation level talks in which they explored ways and means to further strengthen their bilateral relations.
The president also announced the opening of commercial section of the Embassy of Pakistan, in Lagos. “We agreed on several matters including high level exchanges; further strengthening of relations in economic, trade, energy, oil and gas, financial, health, education, agriculture, livestock and dairy products, human resources development and investment,” the president added. President Mamnoon said that they underlined the need to institutionalise the existing economic cooperation for which Agreement on Economic Cooperation (Comprehensive Economic Partnership) had to be concluded on priority basis with a view to give momentum to the bilateral relations.
“We emphasised the need to conclude Bilateral Investment Treaty; Air Services Agreement; Bilateral Trade Agreement; Cooperation Agreement on the Transfer of Convicted Persons and MoU on Health Cooperation for further enhancement of bilateral relations,” he added. He said it was gratifying to note that the National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) has been extending assistance to the government of Nigeria in integration of their software system. The need to further enhance the existing cooperation in the field of defence particularly on enhancing cooperation in counter-terrorism was highlighted.
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