By Isaac Aregbesola
Abuja – The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, on Monday stressed the need for Nigeria and Tunisia to strengthen bilateral relatios, especially in the areas of trade, economy and technology.
Onyeama made the call in Abuja in his remarks at a business forum, preceding Nigeria-Tunis Joint Ministerial Commission.
The minister said that the two-day meeting marked another milestone in the bilateral relations between Nigeria and Tunisia
“We appreciate the impressive development that had taken place in Tunisia which had really catapulted the country to the level of mid income country.
“In all categories, Tunisia is showing itself to be a leading country in the world today in the ICT, medical and agriculture among others, it has made tremendous strides.
“That is why we are particularly happy in strengthening bilateral relations between the two countries,” he said.
He said that the president of the two countries had high regard for each other; a development he said was a good basis for the two countries to take their relations to a new level.
Onyeama said that the ongoing Joint Ministerial Commission between Nigeria and Tunisia at the ministry would identify various sectors in which level of cooperation could be increased.
The minister said that the business forum would further enhance relations between both countries.
“The era of hostility in global trade has long gone, we have fought it hard, we know that might not be always the case as we have some push back against economic and trade cooperation,” he said
Onyema expressed the hope that there would not be a return to the era of protectionism.
He said that the meeting between Nigeria and Tunisia was a demonstration that Africa was on the move and would promote freer trade in the continent.
“The meeting has presented wonderful opportunity for both countries; our private sectors will drive the growth of both countries.
The Tunisian Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr Khemaise Jhinaoui, expressed the belief that discussion at the meeting would identify new area of common interest, mainly in investment and science and technology.
He said that the agreement to be signed later would enhance the relationship between the two countries, especially in the area of business and technology.
Jhinaoui expressed concern that the relations between both countries were still below expectation.
“We have already existing relations but below expectation, currently the trade pattern does not reflect their long term relations,” he said.
He said that there were various opportunities available in Tunisia that could be tapped into by Nigeria and businessmen to further enhance the existing relations. (NAN)