From Aidoghie Paulinus, Abuja
The federal government reassured the Republic of South Africa of the continuity of relations with a view to advancing cooperation between the two countries.
Foreign Minister Geoffrey Onyeama said this during the closing ceremony of the ministerial meeting of the 10th Nigeria-South Africa Binational Commission in Abuja.
In attendance were South African Minister for International Relations and Cooperation, Dr Naledi Pandor; the Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire; the Minister of Women’s Affairs, Dame Paulen Tallen; Minister of State, Transport, Gbemisola Saraki; the Minister of State, Mines and Steel Development, Uche Ogah; Minister of State for Petroleum, Timipre Sylva; Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Mariam Katagum, among others.
Onyeama said that over the past two days, senior officials from the two countries have deliberated at length on a number of important issues related to the bilateral relations between the two countries.
He said he was confident that the two countries had had a productive exchange of views, given the unique nature of the forum which brought together a representative cross-section of key stakeholders dealing with the issues from various angles.
âI look forward to the implementation phase of all memoranda of understanding / agreements signed between the two countries. As the formal part of this meeting ends today, I hope this visit will shed some practical light on the discussions you have had.
“I want to reassure that the Nigerian government will continue to work with the South African government to advance cooperation between the two countries for the benefit of our citizens,” Onyeama said.
Earlier, Onyeama said the two countries have enjoyed cordial relations over the years, based on brotherhood and a common historical struggle.
He added that despite the challenges posed by the global COVID-19 pandemic and the many restrictions it placed on the two countries, Nigeria and South Africa, had, through their determination and efforts, achieved the aim to host the binational commission at that time.
âThis testifies to our common commitment to continuously improve our relations and to consolidate all the gains made in this regard.
âIt is therefore with gratitude that I warmly welcome you. Your presence, despite the obstacles, is a testament to the importance South Africa attaches to the opportunities for mutual benefit that the Binational Commission offers, as well as the opportunity to strengthen cooperation and synergy between our two countries in all countries. areas of mutual interest, âOnyeama also said.
The agreements to be ratified by the two countries include the Early Warning Mechanism, the Arts and Culture Agreement, the Youth Development Agreement, the Immigration Agreement, among others.
In his remarks, Pandor said his delegation was once again encouraged by Nigeria’s continued commitment to African solidarity with South Africa as many around the world treat its citizens as unwelcome outcasts.
Pandor added that Nigeria’s action reflected its well-known solidarity in the difficult times of the struggle against apartheid.
âToday we meet on the eve of the 48th anniversary of the adoption of the Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid by the United Nations General Assembly. With Nigeria’s strong friendship, the international community came together on November 30, 1973 to define and characterize apartheid as a crime against humanity.
âToday we also mark the celebration of the 22nd anniversary of our Binational Commission, an important milestone in the history of our diplomatic relations.
âOur visit aims to affirm South Africa’s commitment to strengthen and foster greater collaboration and cooperation in bilateral and multilateral relations in order to address our common challenges for mutual benefit. Nigeria and South Africa are essential to the development and progress of Africa and must use their attributes to advance the cause of Africa, âsaid Pandor.
Pandor further said that the current bilateral commitments between the two countries must help tackle the scourge of poverty, unemployment and inequalities that plague nations and the continent.
“It is through our strong commitment to our bilateral cooperation and the implementation of the development aspirations of the African Union’s Agenda 2063 and the Sustainable Development Goals that we can change the lives of our people,” said also declared Pandor.