FG, Saudi Arabia sign MoUs on defence, security, human trafficking

From Aidoghie Paulinus, Abuja

The Federal Government and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, yesterday, signed Memorandum of Understandings (MoUs) in the area of defence, security, and human trafficking.

The government and Saudi Arabia however placed on hold, MoUs in the field of investment, and an agreement on the promotion and protection on the avoidance of double taxation as a result of absence of consensus.

Speaking during the closing ceremony, the Minister of State, Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Zubairu Dada, explained that for the past two days, experts and officials from both countries engaged in intensive negotiations on several draft agreements and MoUs presented by Nigeria  and Saudi Arabia, dealing with various aspects of Nigeria-Saudi cooperation.

“I am happy to learn that the discussions of these drafts held under three broad working groups, covering the fields of Education, Culture, Youths, Sports, Defence, Security, Drugs and Human Trafficking, Economic, Trade and Investment, Hajj, Labour, among others, were fruitful.

“I wish to commend our experts for the good work done. Nigeria is honoured and pleased to have hosted the current Second Session of the Nigeria – Saudi Arabia Joint Commission. It is our firm belief that the conclusions and the outcome of this Session will go a long way in uplifting and advancing the existing level of our bilateral relations for the mutual benefits of our people,” Dada said.

Dada further said Nigeria is committed to implementing the MoUs and agreements signed, with a view to elevating  cooperation between both countries to a higher level.

“We are also determined to continue discussions and negotiations with our Saudi brothers on the pending MoUs and agreements which could not be concluded during the current session, particularly those on Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement and that on the Avoidance of Double Taxation,” Dada added.

Also speaking, the leader of the Saudi Arabian Delegation and Deputy Minister of Environment, Water and Agriculture, Saudi Arabia, Ahmed  Elkhemshi, said the meetings held based on the desire of the Governments of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Nigeria to enhance joint cooperation, deepen the existing bonds of friendship between the two countries, and develop cooperation in economic, social and cultural fields.

These, he said,  were built on civilizational background since ancient times, as well as the common understanding to achieve the interests of the two countries and enhance cooperation between them, in addition to the advanced relations between both countries.

Elkhemshi also said the meetings of the second session were held to complement the role and link bridges of communication between the two countries.

“The Governments of the two countries hope that these meetings will be an appropriate means to review performance, evaluate implementations, develop appropriate solutions to address obstacles to what has not been implemented, and amend the path towards achieving the desired goals of bilateral cooperation between the two countries.

“During the past two days, I had the honour to see the efforts made by both parties during the meetings of the technical preparatory committee for this Session, in which the two sides were keen to reach practical and realistic recommendations and proposals to enhance this cooperation, and to put in place an appropriate mechanism for implementation and continuous follow-up, which resulted in the Minutes of the Session comprising a number of recommendations for cooperation in all fields, and the agreement to resume discussions of a number of memoranda of understanding that will see the light soon.

“The most important incident is that this session will witness the signing of an agreement between the Federation of Saudi Chambers and the Federation of Nigerian Chambers, to move forward and widen the horizon and provide opportunities for the private sector of both countries,” Elkhemshi said.


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