1 year ago     2     255     Politics

Nigeria wants formal trade ties before opening embassy in UAE

Despite the significant number of Nigerians who come to Dubai every month, Nigeria will only consider opening an embassy in the UAE once trade relations are formalised and certain imbalances are rectified, Foreign Minister Almaji Sule Lamido said.

Despite the significant number of Nigerians who come to Dubai every month, Nigeria will only consider opening an embassy in the UAE once trade relations are formalised and certain imbalances are rectified, Foreign Minister Almaji Sule Lamido said.

Lamido was part of a delegation headed by President Olusegun Obasanjo that made a pit stop in Dubai yesterday on its way to Japan. Lamido spoke of the "very warm relations" it enjoys with the UAE, which "arise in part from human traffic and the huge volume of commerce between Nigeria and Dubai".

Nigerian Airlines, the country's national carrier, halted its twice weekly flights to Dubai early this year citing "serious difficulties". Nevertheless, some 2,000 Nigerians come to Dubai every month, many of whom engage in informal business activity.

"It has frankly been a kind of one-sided business - in textiles and other areas. And this trade has not been formalised. I think we must address this imbalance. There are a number of things that we can bring into this country from Nigeria, for instance skins, hides and mangoes, if this imbalance is properly corrected," he said.

"We want to expand our missions, but for the moment we feel that our embassy in Kuwait is covering the area very, very well. Once we move into formal business, then we can look at opening a consulate here so as to improve the relations between our two countries."

Lamido also expressed satisfaction with Nigeria's relations with the Middle East in general. Regarding Nigeria's policies vis-a-vis Israel, he commented that these were "supported by the United Nations".

"Certainly, as Kofi Annan said, we feel there is excessive force being used against the Palestinians. You can't imagine a situation where you begin to deploy aerial bombs and other high-techno weapons.

There is public condemnation of Israel on its excessive use of force against the Palestinians. Something needs to be done. Day by day the crisis is escalating...and it risks affecting world peace," he said, but severing diplomatic and trade links with Israel is not the solution.

Obasanjo stressed Nigeria's leading role in combating AIDS. "It is important for us - if we want to save our populations - that we should ensure that anything that can decimate a population, like malaria and HIV, anything that can be an epidemic or pandemic, is taken care of, and this is why we took it to the level that we took it, at the level of an African leaders' summit," Obasanjo told Gulf News, referring to the AIDS summit hosted by Nigeria last month and attended by former U.S. President Bill Clinton.

"This is a disease that doesn't know political boundaries. It doesn't know racial boundaries. It attacks big and small, rich and poor, young and old." This initiative proved successful, the Nigerian president said, "to the extent that the world is now doing something about it. Concertedly, we have now decided that there should be a global trust fund for HIV."

U.S. President George W. Bush pledged $200 million for this fund on May 11 during Obasanjo's visit to Washington. Obasanjo, who took office two years ago, believes his administration's greatest achievement in Nigeria has been "to substitute hope for despair".



2 Comment(s)
staff
1 year ago   0       Politics  
staff
1 year ago   0       Politics  
U.S. President George W. Bush pledged $200 million for this fund on May 11 during Obasanjo's visit to Washington.

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