The federal government has expressed a strong and unwavering commitment to further boost and elevate the existing historical ties binding #Nigeria and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
The Minister of State, Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Zubairu Dada, expressed the commitment of the government in Abuja during the opening ceremony of the Second Session of the Nigeria-Saudi Arabia Joint Commission.
Addressing the delegations, Dada said it was the sincere hope that the outcome of the Joint Commission meeting would uplift and further strengthen all aspects of the long-standing bilateral cooperation for the mutual benefits of both countries.
Dada commended the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for the successful conduct of the 2022 Hajj operation, the first after the COVID-19 pandemic, adding that Nigeria looked forward to the return of full normalcy in the conduct of the pilgrimage in 2023.
Dada also hailed the far-reaching socio-economic transformation currently taking place in the Kingdom under Vision 2030, saying that Nigeria is similarly pursuing a number of reforms aimed at liberalising and digitalising the economy, as well as creating more opportunities for Nigerian women and teeming youth aimed at paving the way for a more sustainable future.
“We believe that our collective endeavours would positively impact on Nigeria-Saudi relations with a view to raising them to a strategic level.
“It is pertinent to recall that our two friendly countries signed the General Agreement for Cooperation between them on the 20th October 2003 in order to promote mutually beneficial cooperation for both parties. This birthed the establishment of the Nigeria-Saudi Joint Commission.
“We thank the Kingdom for hosting the First Session of the Commission in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia from 11th -12th March 2013. The 2nd Session which was supposed to have been held two years later could not take place until now due to a number of reasons, including the recent pandemic. It can further be recalled that during the First Session, a number of MoUs and Agreements covering various aspects of bilateral cooperation were signed by the two sides.
“By hosting the 2nd Session of the Joint Commission today, Nigeria which attaches great importance to her relations with the Kingdom is demonstrating her strong and unwavering commitment to further boost and elevate the existing historical ties binding our two countries to a new height.
“We hereby also affirm our determination to ensure that these relations are transformed into a win-win partnership for our mutual benefits,” Dada said.
Dada further assured the Saudi Arabian delegation of Nigeria’s full commitment and cooperation throughout the meeting to ensure that the 2nd Session of the Joint Commission is successful.
He also said both countries and people were eager for the session to produce the desired positive outcome which will bring a new era in Nigeria-Saudi cooperation as we also create the necessary mechanism for the implementation of the agreed frameworks with minimum delay.
On his part, the Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Ministry of Environment and Agriculture of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Ahmad Bin Sakeh Al-Khamshi, said the meeting came as an extension of what both countries agreed upon during the first session of the Committee aimed at developing relations between both countries.
Al-Khamshi extended gratitude to the Government of Nigeria for the support to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to host Expo 2030.
He added that Saudi Arabia placed great importance on the general agreement on cooperation signed between both countries in 2003 and the meetings of the Saudi-Nigerian Joint Committee, which constituted the effective tool in implementing the agreement and laying the specific foundations for enhancing economic, commercial, investment, scientific and cultural cooperation between the two countries.
“Accordingly, emphasis must be given to activate the work of both the agreement and the joint committee through the development of effective mechanisms and programmes to implement what emanates from the meetings of this committee and to continuously review and follow-up through dialogue, consultation and communication between the competent authorities in both countries to implement it, as well as removing obstacles and learn lessons to develop joint cooperation in the interest of both countries,” Al-Khamshi said.
Al-Khamshi also said the meeting represented a practical approach in the path set for enhancing cooperation between the two countries, as there are many promising opportunities for cooperation in several fields, including trade, investment and technology.
“Among these opportunities is the G20 Financing for Sustainable Development Initiative which was launched by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia during its G20 presidency. Saudi Arabia and Nigeria teams are working on this matter.
“I also highlight the great importance of the role of the private sector in implementing economic cooperation projects related to trade and investment exchange. For this reason, we give priority to the leading participation of the private sector in both countries. We hope that this sector will have the appropriate and stimulating atmosphere for its effective participation in translating the available economic opportunities into practical projects of benefit to our two countries,” Al-Khamshi also said.