Aidoghie Paulinus, Abuja
The Federal Government, has said the fact that President Muhammadu Buhari will be honouring the invitation of President Cyril Ramaphosa for a state visit on October 3, 2019, is a clear indication of the desire of Nigeria to sustain and improve upon the subsisting cordial relations between both countries.
The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Mustapha Suleiman, made the disclosure when he led the Nigerian delegation as co-chair to the senior officials/experts meeting of the 9th session of the Nigeria-South Africa Bi-National Commission (BNC) in Pretoria, South Africa.
Suleiman said the visit was coming despite the unfortunate series of events that have transpired recently in South Africa.
Suleiman noted that it had been six years since such a meeting was last held and expressed believe that it was long overdue.
“We are here now in preparation for the state visit of President Muhammadu Buhari and the inauguration of the BNC at Summit level, which is scheduled for 3rd October, 2019.
“Despite the unfortunate series of events that have transpired recently, the fact that President Buhari honoured the invitation of President Cyril Ramaphosa is a clear indication of the desire of Nigeria to sustain and improve upon the subsisting cordial relations between our two countries,” Suleiman said.
Suleiman further said it was important that the relationship is sustained in order to ensure the strengthening and advancement of strategic partnership and cooperation for the peace, security and socio-economic development of both countries and the African continent.
“The main focus of this meeting is to ensure the finalisation of all relevant draft Agreement/Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs), especially the ones that fall within the purview of the areas of interest as indicated by President Muhammadu Buhari and President Cyril Ramaphosa, namely: Defence and Security, Energy and Socio-Economic, Trade and Politics. The identified areas will foster increased cooperation and collaboration that would mutually benefit our two countries and peoples.
“I urge all members of the various working groups to work assiduously to ensure completion of all necessary draft Agreements/MoUs for final presentation at the meeting of Ministers and signing on the side lines of the State Visit. I urge us all to conduct our interaction in the spirit of cooperation, goodwill and compromise so that the work of the Senior Officials meeting is made easy and new Agreements are reached in that spirit and those already signed are fully implemented for our mutual benefits,” Suleiman also said.
On his part, the Director-General of the South African Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO), Mr Kgabo Mahoai, thanked the Nigerian delegation for attending the BNC.
Kgabo noted the bond of cordiality that had existed between both countries and viewed the presence of the delegation as efforts to further deepen relations between both countries.
He recalled the late Nelson Mandela and Nnamdi Azikiwe as examples of Nigeria-South Africa relations.