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, 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.