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Russia to improve bilateral relationship with Nigeria, says envoy


The Russia Federation has pledged to strengthen bilateral trade and investment cooperation with Nigeria.

Ambassador of the Russian Federation to Nigeria, Mr. Nikolay Udovichenko, made this known during the Russian Federation National Day celebration which took place at the Russian federation embassy in Abuja on Monday.

“Nigeria is one of our greatest trading partners and we have had a strong relationship in the last years but hope to strengthen it and do a lot more together in the future.

“ We would continue to support Nigeria in achieving economic and social development by helping Nigeria utilise its resources in more effective ways.

He also said that Russia would continue its educational programme to Nigerian students on scholarship basis.

“We are glad that we can celebrate our national day in a country that has been very supportive.

“The Russian government has offered many Nigerians scholarships to study in Russia and we extend our gratitude to those who have studied in Russia for always being supportive and cooperative.

“I also want to thank my fellow Russians for their hard work and support in the diplomatic mission here in Nigeria,’’ Udovichenko said.

Dean of Diplomatic Corp and High Commissioner to Nigeria, Salaheddine Ibrahima, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that it was nice to have countries come together to support other countries celebrate their growth.

“It is nice to see that we are supportive of each other and that we see the need to celebrate our countries as a way to improve our relationships.

“ We are happy for Russia and wish them much more growth and success in the years ahead,’’ he said.

Russia and Nigeria took steps to deepen their economic and political ties, after Foreign Minister Geoffrey Onyeama, held diplomatic talks with his counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, during an official working visit to Moscow on May 29 to May 31.

Lavrov held talks with Onyeama and his delegation on May 30.

The foreign ministers discussed issues pertaining to the steady development of bilateral ties in political, trade, economic and humanitarian areas.

They concentrated on prospects of cooperation in the nuclear industry, hydrocarbon processing, infrastructure projects and exports of Russian industrial products to Nigeria.

The ministers further held an in-depth exchange of views on international and regional issues, focusing on countering terrorism and extremism, settling crises in Africa, primarily in the Sahara and the Sahel, and fighting pirates in the Gulf of Guinea.

After the closed meeting, Lavrov told a media conference here that the meeting noted a strong potential for cooperation in areas such as hydrocarbon production.

Others are processing, nuclear power industry and agriculture, and further expressed mutual interest in continued military-technical and military cooperation and training civilian specialists and law enforcement officers for Nigeria at Russian universities.

So far, the two countries had held three meetings of the Joint Commission, the last was held as far back in 2009.

The Joint Commission is the platform for the two countries to sit down and draw up agreements and Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on how to conduct businesses and investment in each other’s country.

Russia and Nigeria’s two-way trade was 350 million dollars in 2013.





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